Visit Florida launches programs to assist local tourism boards dealing with red tide


A dead pufferfish found on the edge of Merritt Island near the Banana River lagoon during the fish kill last March. - PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
  • A dead pufferfish found on the edge of Merritt Island near the Banana River lagoon during the fish kill last March.
Visit Florida, the state's private/public tourism arm, and Gov. Rick Scott launched two programs Friday to provide aide to southwestern counties suffering from the latest red tide outbreak.

The programs, the Tourism Recovery Grant Program for Red Tide and the Red Tide Recovery Marketing Program, were implemented to help once the red tide subsides, not to combat the current crisis, according to the News Service of Florida.

The programs are aimed at Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, and are being funded by $500,000 that Gov. Rick Scott requested on Monday, as part of the $1.5 million in regional assistance.

The assistance will also include $900,000 to clean up water in Lee County and $100,000 for Mote Marine Laboratory to distribute scientists to assist in aiding animals, like manatees, dolphins and sea turtles.

The Marketing Program will set up a six-month "complimentary" marketing partnership with Visit Florida, while the Recovery Grant Program will require counties to outline how they will market themselves as part of an application for funding, per the report.

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