DISCOVER FLORIDA’S ADVENTURE COAST

Centuries of History
The Native American presence in what would become Florida’s Adventure Coast stretches back before recorded history. Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto’s expedition encountered these first residents of the region in 1539. Hernando County was established and named after de Soto on February 27, 1843. The newly christened town of Brooksville became the county seat in 1856. Confederate and Union troops clashed in the area during the Civil War, and re-enactors bring the battle to life today at the annual Brooksville Raid event. The Florida Legislature set the current boundaries of the county in 1887. In 2015, the Board of County Commissioners adopted the Florida’s Adventure Coast tourism branding, and thousands of visitors make vacation history here every year.

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An Adventurous Destination
Florida’s Adventure Coast abounds in opportunities for outdoor activities in the county’s nature-packed 589 square miles. The area’s geographic features include rolling terrain, lush forests, miles of trails, and approximately 200,000 acres of protected parklands. About 20% of the county is water, including springs, rivers and lakes. The area has two incorporated cities—Brooksville in the center and Weeki Wachee to the west—and a number of other distinctive communities, such as Hernando Beach, Ridge Manor and Spring Hill. Each community offers visitors its own take on the exceptional Adventure Coast lifestyle.

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Water Adventures
The Adventure Coast is overflowing with beautiful locations to experience the Sunshine State’s best water-based activities. Anglers enjoy a variety of fishing experiences, including deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico for grouper, cobia and snapper; flats fishing for tarpon, trout and redfish; and lake fishing for largemouth bass, bream and crappie. Scallopers can bag the excitement of catching scallops along the coast during scalloping season, which in 2015 runs from June 27 to September 24. Paddlers can explore many miles of waterways by canoe and kayak. And manatee admirers can watch gentle sea cows in their natural habitat.

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Land Adventures
There’s so much authentic Florida to explore—from the coast to the Withlacoochee River, our diverse land-based activities can please any vacationer. For hiking, biking, four-wheeling or horseback riding, the Adventure Coast’s extensive trails take guests on a remarkable journey under a canopy of hardwood and longleaf pine, past unspoiled lakes and rivers, and into the heart of natural Florida. Bird and wildlife watchers also have ample opportunities to see native species, with two habitat clusters of the Great Florida Birding Trail. And golfers can take a swing at nearly a dozen championship courses, including the two award-winning Tom Fazio courses at the World Woods Golf Club and Pete Dye’s Southern Hills masterpiece.

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Attractions & Parks
The Adventure Coast was home to some of Florida’s very first attractions—and today these dynamic destinations still delight thousands of visitors annually from across the world. Brooksville and Weeki Wachee have been attractive places to visit for generations. Highlights include Weeki Wachee Springs State Park—a vintage attraction with world-famous mermaids—the roadside attraction Boyett’s Grove, the 408-acre Chinsegut Conservation Center, The Chinsegut Hill Manor House and its adjacent retreat facility, the May-Stringer Museum and more.

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An Essential Industry
Tourism gives residents of Brooksville, Weeki Wachee and the surrounding communities a sustainable industry that contributes greatly to the local economy. In 2013, Hernando County had over 5,300 jobs with $79.9 million in salaries in the tourism-supported Leisure & Hospitality category, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2014, the tourism-supported business sectors of lodging, restaurants and gasoline stations together grossed nearly $300 million in Hernando County, according to the Florida Department of Revenue. And many other types of local jobs and businesses benefit from tourism and the fresh dollars visitors bring. Local tourism also supports the shops, restaurants and vital government services that contribute to the overall quality of life enjoyed by all residents.

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Visitors and locals alike benefit from tourism in Florida’s Adventure Coast. Here, tourism truly is everybody’s business!

FAST FACTS ABOUT NATURE’S PLACE TO PLAY

On Florida’s Adventure Coast…

  • The destination is located in the geographic center of the state—just 45 minutes north of Tampa.
  • The county is bordered on the east by the Withlacoochee River and on the west by the Gulf of Mexico.
    There are 25 county parks, 3 community parks and 1 Florida State Park, as well as privately-managed parks, preserves and other protected lands.
  • There are 52.2 miles of river waterways, including Withlacoochee River, Little Withlacoochee River, Weeki Wachee River, Mud River—notable for canoe and kayak excursions.
  • Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is one of Florida’s first attractions, featuring world-famous mermaids, the state’s only spring-fed waterpark and crystal clear springs that produce 117-million gallons of water per day.
  • The Withlacoochee State Forest, declared as one of the “10 Coolest Places in North America” by the World Wildlife Fund, and it features day use areas, horse trails, and campsites for tenting and recreational vehicles.
  • Visitors enjoy paved trails including the scenic, award-winning 42-mile Suncoast Parkway Trail and the 46-mile Withlacoochee State Trail, designated as a National Recreation Trail, plus many unpaved trails popular for trail riding.
  • World Woods Golf Course is rated one of the Top 25 courses in the United States.
  • “Hernando Hauntings” include Old Spring Hill Cemetery, the Heritage Museum, several private residences and sightings in other locations.
  • There are habitats for several endangered species, such as the Florida black bear, gopher tortoise and Florida panther.
  • Birders can enjoy 10 sites on the Great Florida Birding Trail – with sightings of the rare red-cockaded woodpecker, bald eagle, burrowing owl and limpkin to name but a few. In the wintertime, waterfowl lovers find bufflehead, canvasback, mallard, merganser, mottled duck, redhead, whistling duck and more.
  • Grouper are caught in less than 15 feet of water off of our coast in the Gulf of Mexico, the area is also known for record-breaking tarpon and seasonal scalloping draws visitors from near and far.
  • The 2,600 acre Croom Motorcycle Area awaits, and it is recognized as one of the finest off-road facilities in the nation.

Story Ideas

NATURE’S PLACE FOR INSPIRING STORIES

Florida’s Adventure Coast is filled with an ocean of possibilities for stories that will delight nature-loving readers and viewers. The following are merely a few of the broad array of story topics that Brooksville and Weeki Wachee have to offer.

Families have made Florida’s Adventure Coast their destination for generations. And two of the state’s oldest attractions still delight thousands of visitors to the area annually—and would make a compelling feature story about fun beyond the beaten path.

For over 60 years, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park has lured visitors to the beautiful mermaids who swim in the cool, clear spring waters. Sitting in the Mermaid Theater, visitors feel like they are inside the flowing spring, and are transported back to simpler times, before super theme parks and super highways appeared. Within the park, Buccaneer Bay gives guests the chance to swim in the spring water, play a game, or just relax on the sandy riverside beach. A visit to Weeki Wachee Springs is a splendid experience of Florida lore in a place where dreams really do come true.

Another old-school attraction awaits just north of Brooksville. Boyett’s Citrus Grove is part orange grove, part ice-cream parlor, part zoo, part kitschy gift shop—and 100% fresh-squeezed Florida fun. Recalling a day when roadside attractions dotted the Sunshine State, Boyett’s remains a can’t-miss attraction today.

As birding continues to grow in popularity both at home and abroad, so a story about the bountiful birding opportunities found here has never been more relevant. Why select Florida’s Adventure Coast for your birding story? Because the area’s central location stretches from coastal habitats to inland forests, and 10 sites on the Great Florida Birding Trail are found within the county’s vast protected lands.

Here, birders have the chance to see rare birds including the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, the threatened southern bald eagle, the swallow-tail kite, and Florida sandhill cranes. birder’s checklists will quickly note such species as Florida scrub-jays, pileated woodpeckers, Bachman’s sparrows, southeastern American kestrels, red-shouldered and red-tailed hawks, chickadees, great blue herons, egrets, limpkins, loons, white ibis and ospreys. What’s more, Hernando Beach is one of the few places in Florida where budgerigars are regularly found. They are noted for their impressive green coloring and parrot-like chatter.

The same terrain that makes Florida’s Adventure Coast a popular hiking, biking and trail riding destination also makes it an unusually good place for a golf getaway. Internationally known golf architects like Tom Fazio and World Golf Hall of Fame member Pete Dye have used the area’s terrains and elevations to challenge even the most experienced golfer, yet provide novices the fun and the opportunity to learn. Ten par 72 courses, and two nine-hole executive courses enjoy rolling hills, fairways carved through old limestone quarries and breathtaking vistas from the courses on the Brooksville Ridge. The area also offers four courses limited to private membership. Consider a story that pairs championship golf with other excellent outdoor activities.

A first-person narrative of paddling the pristine waters of Florida’s Adventure Coast would make a perfect feature story, and the area has many options from which to choose. The crystal clear water of the Weeki Wachee River offers a glimpse into the world below the surface, teeming with aquatic life. Along the shore, paddlers will see the occasional white-tailed deer, Osceola turkey, abundant shorebirds, and may encounter a visit from a manatee or a dolphin as it glides alongside your craft. The Withlacoochee River offers a distinctly different experience, with its moss-laden trees and centuries-old cypress.

The Withlacoochee River Canoe Trail is officially designated as part of Florida’s Statewide System of Greenways and Trails. The river flows out of the Green Swamp in west central Florida, and twists and bends through the sandhill area as it moves northwest. The still, tannic waters provide near perfect reflections off the river’s surface, creating incredible scenic views.

Active is in! More and more Americans desire to make active outdoor adventures a part of their vacation plans. Baby Boomers are bringing their active lifestyles into retirement. And the internet age has inspired many to seek authentic, hands-on travel experiences.

Florida’s Adventure Coast is an ideal choice for a story highlighting these trends, as it embodies the best of outdoor activities in a single centrally located destination. From the rush of fighting glittering sport fish in the Gulf of Mexico, to the transcendent experiences of hiking ancient forests at daybreak or paddling scenic springs by starlight, the Adventure Coast overflows with opportunities for active, natural vacation adventures.

No matter what the economy is doing, a story on affordable travel will always capture an audience’s attention. And this is one of the few truly affordable coastal destinations along the often budget-busting Florida coast. Lodging, restaurants, and activities here are so affordable that many visitors return every year for extended stays of a month or more. For an appealing story, consider interviewing regular guests and highlighting the cost-conscious fun to be had at the area’s parks, preserves and historic sites.

Fill your publication or website’s special events calendar with the signature celebrations of Florida’s Adventure Coast. Festivals and events include the Brooksville Raid in January, the Brooksville Native American Festival in February, the Weeki Wachee Swamp Fest in March, Art In the Park in March, the Florida Blueberry Festival in April, holiday events and more. Visit FloridasAdventureCoast.com for complete listings of upcoming events and additional information.

Looking for a story that’s so fun it’s scary? Then look no further than the Adventure Coast’s very own May-Stringer House. Over the century and a half that the house has kept watch over downtown Brooksville, it has earned a reputation as one of the most haunted sites in Florida. A fascinating historical museum by day, ghosts tours are available at the house on Friday and Saturday nights by appointment. The tours include a discussion of the evidence recorded by paranormal research groups in the house.

In The News

NEWS RELEASES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A STRONG SCALLOPING SEASON ON FLORIDA’S ADVENTURE COAST

HERNANDO BEACH, Fla. – Recreational scalloping season is making a splash on Florida’s Adventure Coast, and the scalloping promises to be especially good this year.

The annual scallop survey of the region including Florida’s Adventure Coast (Hernando County) reported an increased bay scallop population from last year. The pre-season count found an average of 48 scallops per station—up a full third from 36 in 2014.

Scallopers have reported strong catches so far in this year’s season, which began on June 27 and will last until September 24.

“We are very excited about the new scalloping season and invite everyone to try this great family fishing activity for themselves,” said Tammy Heon, Manager of the Florida’s Adventure Coast Tourism Bureau. “Our scallops are thriving, and so are the adventures to be found here.”

Adventure Coast scalloping is a popular summertime family activity. The area’s scallops are found along the Gulf Coast in shallow-water sea-grass beds. Little more than a boat, a snorkel, and a mesh bag are required to go scalloping. Scallopers 16 and older require a saltwater fishing license. A professional guide is also recommended to help visitors make the most of their trip.

State regulations allow each person to collect 2 gallons of whole bay scallops or 1 pint of meat, with no more than 10 gallons of whole scallops or half a gallon of meat on any vessel at any time. Scallops may only be taken by hand or with a landing or dip net.

The Adventure Coast is Florida’s southernmost scallop harvesting area. More information about scalloping, guides and lodging in the Adventure Coast is available online at FloridasAdventureCoast.com.

Please direct Florida’s Adventure Coast media inquiries to Tammy Heon at 352-540-6232 or theon@FloridasAdventureCoast.com.

 

2016 TDC GRANT FUNDING APPLICATION  GUIDELINES

2016 TDC Grant Funding Application Guidelines

The 2016 TDC Grant Funding Application Guidelines and Forms are now available. Please click the image above to download them as a fillable PDF form.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TREEUMPH! ADVENTURE COURSE COMING TO BROOKSVILLE

 BROOKSVILLE, Fla. –  TreeUmph! Adventure Course of Bradenton, Florida announces expansion to Brooksville. The attraction plans to open by November 2016.

TreeUmph! plans to lease with an option to purchase approximately 47 acres owned by Hernando County which is located in east Hernando County, convenient to I-75 on Cedar Lane. The attraction will feature different skill levels of zip lines, bridges, bungee swings with hanging nets in conjunction with a base camp that includes ticket sales, visitor’s center, concession, gift area and a picnic area(s) for ages seven and up.

TreeUmph! has developed expertise in creating and operating treetop adventure/obstacle courses in Florida that have proven to be very popular with residents and tourists alike. The destination park will attract tourists and residents from the Greater Gainesville to Orlando to Sarasota area, with an estimated annual draw of 25,000 to 40,000 people to the Hernando County area.

“We are proud to partner with TreeUmph! Adventure Course as we welcome them to our family,” Hernando County Administrator Len Sossamon said. “Life is an adventure, and TreeUmph! is about to make it more adventurous in Hernando County!”

TreeUmph! intends to make an investment of approximately $1.1 million dollars and create approximately 15 new full-time jobs.

“We’re thrilled to announce the expansion of TreeUmph! Adventure Course into Hernando County,” stated Aaron and Kathy Corr, owners.

TreeUmph! Adventure Course Hernando will include up to 80 individual obstacles on a nearly 50-acre park with a design unique to the Brooksville landscape.

Adventurers of all skill levels will make their way along a self-guided tour through five progressively difficult courses for adults and a children-only course for ages 7-11. Seniors will be able to enjoy the treetop fun too, with a discounted ticket option. The challenges will include wobbly bridges, hanging nets, bungee swings, an exhilarating ZIP line and more. Visitors can stop at any time and are always harnessed to the industry’s most sophisticated safety equipment.

Please direct Florida’s Adventure Coast media inquiries to Tammy Heon at 352-540-6232 or theon@FloridasAdventureCoast.com.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HERNANDO COUNTY LAUNCHES NEW TOURISM BRAND

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. – The Hernando County Board of County Commissioners has approved the county’s new tourism marketing brand.

The new branding includes three key components that emphasize the outdoor amenities that draw visitors to the county. These include a new logo highlighting the destination’s natural environment and outdoor activities, the themeline “Nature’s Place to Play” and the destination name “Florida’s Adventure Coast.” Community input and marketing research guided the development of the new brand.

“We clearly needed a new direction to help Hernando County tourism stand out from the competition,” said Tammy Heon, Manager of the Hernando County Tourism Bureau. “But it was equally clear that only a brand created by the community would best represent our destination.”

An extensive research process informed the creation of the brand, beginning with more than 50 one-on-one interviews with county officials and tourism stakeholders. The interview findings then led to a broad range of concepts that were tested in surveys among large samples of past Hernando County guests and prospective visitors. Finally, community members provided feedback on the best-liked concepts in additional one-on-one meetings and two public presentations before the final branding elements were presented for the County Commission’s approval.

The Hernando County Tourism Bureau will now apply the approved branding to a new multimedia marketing campaign to promote visitation to the area.

The Ponte Vedra Beach-based brand marketing communications firm GOLD & Associates implemented the research process and creative execution. The county awarded the firm the branding project in a competitive bid process. From Fortune 500 companies, to numerous counties, municipalities and boroughs, GOLD has served a broad array of clients with award-winning branding solutions.

Please direct Florida’s Adventure Coast media inquiries to Tammy Heon at 352-540-6232 or theon@FloridasAdventureCoast.com.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TAMMY HEON SELECTED FOR STATEWIDE TOURISM ROLES

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. – Tammy Heon, Manager, Tourism Development of Florida’s Adventure Coast, Brooksville – Weeki Wachee, accepted the nomination to serve as Secretary to the Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations (FADMO) while attending the annual Fall Conference in early September. Heon was also recently appointed to Chair the Visitor Services Committee for VISIT FLORIDA, which guides marketing efforts of VISIT FLORIDA’S five official Welcome Centers and customer-facing operations.

Both FADMO and VISIT FLORIDA facilitate industry best practices and ensure national destination marketing leadership. Tourism marketing at the state level relies on input from the numerous visitor bureaus and destination marketing organizations (DMOs) throughout Florida. One of the world’s most powerful tourism marketing entities, VISIT FLORIDA supports more than 220 official industry partners and its recipe for success is strong strategic leadership and a thorough understanding of the Florida traveler. Visitors benefit with the widest array of destination options, presented at their most engaging. Florida tourism continues to make headlines due to unprecedented, record-breaking visitation and positive economic impact.

VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation, serves as Florida’s official source for travel planning to visitors across the globe. VISIT FLORIDA is not a government but rather a not-for-profit corporation created as a public/private partnership by the Florida Legislature in 1996.

The FADMO serves as the single unifying voice for all Florida DMOs, increasing overall marketing effectiveness through industry education, legislative outreach, enhancing professionalism and facilitating communication.

Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitor Bureau’s mission is to identify, create, support and enhance activities, consistent with community assets that increase visitation and provide local economic impact. To meet that mission, the Bureau markets the County as a leisure recreation destination, utilizing various media as well as such promotional activities as special events, trade shows and area familiarization tours. Funds for the Visitor Bureau are derived from “bed tax” revenue, a five percent surcharge on all transient accommodation (hotels, motels, vacation rentals, campgrounds and other lodging leased for six months or less) within Hernando County. The day-to-day activities of the Visitor Bureau are managed by the Bureau’s staff with oversight by the Hernando County Tourism Development Council (TDC), a volunteer committee appointed by the County Commission. For more information or to partner with the Visitor Bureau, contact them at 800-601-4580 or online at www.floridasadventurecoast.com.

Please direct Florida’s Adventure Coast media inquiries to Tammy Heon at 352-540-6232 or theon@FloridasAdventureCoast.com.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2015 PEPSI YOUTH BOWLING TOURNAMENT SCORED WELL IN HERNANDO COUNTY

 BROOKSVILLE, Fla. – Outstanding young bowlers were not the only winners following the recent 2015 Pepsi Youth Bowling Tournament; Hernando County businesses scored as well, rolling in an estimated $3.5M economic impact.

Hosted by Spring Hill Lanes at 3447 Commercial Way, tournament play occurred during five weekends in April and May. 2,779 Florida bowlers, with their families and friends, enjoyed Hernando County hospitality. The host hotel, Hampton Inn on Commercial Way and other nearby hotels reported nearly 600 tournament-related bookings. Area restaurants and attractions noticed a business boost as well.

Youth competitors and their entourages celebrated winning scholarships, four advancing to the Junior Gold National event in Chicago. Two local bowlers, Nicholas Holliday and Patrick Valentine, were among the winners. Patrick Valentine won scholarships in both handicap and scratch events, bowling a tournament high series that included a perfect 300 game.

“We were extremely proud and honored to have hosted the 2015 Pepsi Youth Championship Event at Spring Hill Lanes” said Spring Hill Lanes Manager, Carlos Martin. “It had an enormous impact on our business and it was a great boost to Hernando County’s economy as a whole. It’s been a great opportunity to showcase not only our Center but also what our area has to offer”.

While here, visitors enjoyed local dining and entertainment options, thanks to the Pepsi Youth Bowling Tournament coupon book, arranged by the Tourism Bureau. As an economic driver, the Hernando County Tourism Bureau is pleased to sponsor this and other sports events, such as the upcoming October 2015 Bowling Jamboree and next year’s 51st Annual State Youth Scholarship Tournament.

Sports marketing and tournament hosting are effective means of drawing visitors to Hernando County. The 2015 Pepsi Youth Tournament was particularly welcome, its five April and May weekends falling in the normally-slow period between the departure of most winter residents and arrival of summer scalloping guests. Local leagues interested in partnering with the Visitor Bureau to bring tournaments to the area should contact tourism development manager, Tammy J. Heon at 352.754-4405.

Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitor Bureau’s mission is to identify, create, support and enhance activities, consistent with community assets that increase visitation and provide local economic impact. To meet that mission, the Bureau markets the County as a leisure recreation destination, utilizing various media, as well as such promotional activities as special events, trade shows and area familiarization tours. Funds for the Visitor Bureau are derived from “bed tax” revenue, a five percent surcharge on all transient accommodations (hotels, motels, bed & breakfast inns, campgrounds and other lodging leased for six months or less) within Hernando County. The day-to-day activities of the Visitor Bureau are managed by the Bureau’s staff with oversight by the Hernando County Tourism Development Council (TDC), a volunteer committee appointed by the County Commission. For more information or to partner with the Visitor Bureau, contact the Bureau at 800-601-4580 or online at www.floridasadventurecoast.com.

Please direct Florida’s Adventure Coast media inquiries to Tammy Heon at 352-540-6232 or theon@FloridasAdventureCoast.com

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LIFE IN THE FAST LANE     Bowling Jamboree Rolls Into Florida’s Adventure Coast

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. – Florida’s Adventure Coast hosted the 2015 United States Bowling Conference Florida State Bowling Jamboree in October. Hundreds of bowlers and their families visited the area for three days of bowling, golf and dining during the conference’s first visit to the destination.

The Bowling Jamboree began with a social gathering at the Palace Grand on Friday night, followed by a dinner on Saturday. The delegates also bowled at Spring Hill Lanes on Saturday to sharpen their skills while enjoying a bowling ball raffle. Sunday morning, the Jamboree held its annual installation of officers and its awards meeting at the Palace Grand.

“Thank you to the establishments who helped make this event such a huge success,” said Bob Mahr, Director of the Hernando County USBC Bowling Association and President for the West Zone Florida State USBC Bowling Association. “The delegates were ecstatic about the Palace Grand, Spring Hill Lanes, Hernando Oaks Golf Course and especially the hotels for their hospitality.”

During the festivities, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park provided a special photo shoot with mermaids Emily Anderson and Samantha Evans. And the local Hernando County USBC Bowling Association and the Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitors Bureau hosted a detailed display featuring everything the area has to offer.

The Bowling Jamboree rolled nearly $70,000 into the local economy. Hotels, meeting facilities, attractions, restaurants, transportation providers and retailers are among the local businesses that benefited from the event.

“We were delighted to welcome the USBC Florida Sate Bowling Jamboree to Nature’s Place to Play,” said Tammy Heon, Tourism Manager of the Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitors Bureau. “Events such as this support local businesses while introducing new visitors to all there is to see and do on Florida’s Adventure Coast.”

More information about area tourism is available online at FloridasAdventureCoast.com.

Please direct Florida’s Adventure Coast media inquiries to Tammy Heon at 352-540-6232 or theon@ FloridasAdventureCoast.com.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TOURISM INDUSTRY GROWS IN FLORIDA’S ADVENTURE COAST

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. – Tax collections and accommodator data for the past fiscal year (October 2014 – September 2015) reveal substantial tourism growth for Hernando County, now marketed as Florida’s Adventure Coast.

The basic metric for measuring tourism progress is the amount of Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collected on overnight accommodations in the county. And TDT collections rose 79% from $410,492 in fiscal year 2013-2014 to $736,148 in fiscal year 2014-2015. The gains resulted in part from a TDT increase that went into effect in the past year, but the rise in collections is greater than the higher tax rate alone.

Sales measurements from local accommodations also illustrate the area’s increasing tourism success. Year-to-date data at the end of the fiscal year show increases of 5.3% in occupancy, 7.5% in the average daily rate and 13.2% in revenue per available room, according to hotel data company STR, Inc. This means that more visitors spent more money at local hotels and motels.

“These strong numbers demonstrate that Hernando County continues to grow and prosper as a vacation destination,” said Tammy Heon, Tourism Manager of the Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitors Bureau. “Our nature-based tourism amenities are right for the times, and our new Adventure Coast branding campaign is already making a measurable impact.”

Hernando County residents voted in 1992 to levy the Tourist Development Tax. In 2014, the county raised the amount of the tax from 3% to 5%. The tax is used to attract even more visitors to the area, enhancing the local economy.

More information about area tourism is available online at FloridasAdventureCoast.com.

Please direct Florida’s Adventure Coast media inquiries to Tammy Heon at 352-540-6232 or theon@ FloridasAdventureCoast.com.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SIGNS OF PROGRESS: TRAILS

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. – A pair of recent Adventure Coast trail signage initiatives highlights function, safety, aesthetics and cooperation. For Suncoast Trail users, a new series of decals applied to the pavement with GPS coordinates serve as navigational aids and an emergency response efficiency feature. Lake Townsen Preserve now boasts approximately two dozen new trail number signs. Both projects enhance the trail system valued by many outdoor enthusiasts.

The Suncoast Trail reflective decals were made possible by members of the Suncoast Trail Advisory Group (STAG) who first came up with the idea and then Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise helped fund the project. Placed every 200 feet, the decals are a great safety tool to help first responders locate trail users in need of assistance. The 20-mile Adventure Coast portion of the Suncoast Trail joins trails within neighboring counties, in addition to a host of other trails nationwide marked in this manner.

Lake Townsen Preserve, part of the Hernando County Environmentally Sensitive Lands (ESL) Program, has brand new trail number markings. Installed on sturdy posts, the fiberglass signage has a design life of ten years. The ESL Program purchased the signs, posts and hardware. Hernando County Parks Department provided the essential equipment. Staff and volunteers installed the signs. Safe and accessible outdoor recreation around Florida’s Adventure Coast is enjoyed by many thanks to vision, leadership and collaboration.

Please direct Florida’s Adventure Coast media inquiries to Tammy Heon at 352-540-6232 or theon@ FloridasAdventureCoast.com.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ADVENTURE COAST VISITORS BUREAU REPORTS STRONG REVENUE GROWTH

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. – Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitors Bureau reports strong earnings to close out last fiscal year and impressive momentum year-to-date.  Tourist Development Tax revenue comparisons by month are trending upward, with December’s collections up 35% over the prior year and year-to-date gains of 53%.

Many Florida visitors discovered the newly-branded Florida’s Adventure Coast, Brooksville-Weeki Wachee and stayed to enjoy its unique blend of amenities. From Mermaid performances at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park to outdoor recreation, festivals and sports tournaments, travelers found ample reason to visit and stay.

Tammy J. Heon, Manager, Tourism Development states “We’re delighted to see our tax collections continue to rise; these numbers are reflective of the growth not only of hotel and lodging, but tourism in general. Increased tourism is good for our local businesses as well as our taxpayers. With 23% of all sales taxes in the state of Florida paid by visitors, the increases in our revenues will result in greater tax relief to our residents as well as more jobs for local residents.”

Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitors Bureau’s mission is to identify, create, support and enhance activities, consistent with community assets that increase visitation and provide local economic impact. Funds for the Visitors Bureau are derived from tourist development tax, also known as “bed tax” revenue, a five percent surcharge on all transient accommodations (hotels, motels, vacation home rentals, bed & breakfast inns, campgrounds and other lodging leased for six months or less) within Hernando County. The day-to-day activities of the Visitors Bureau are managed by the Bureau’s staff with oversight by the Hernando County Tourist Development Council (TDC), a volunteer committee appointed by the County Commission. For more information or to partner with the Visitors Bureau, contact the Bureau at 352-754-4405 or online at www.floridasadventurecoast.com.

Please direct Florida’s Adventure Coast media inquiries to Tammy Heon at 352-540-6232 or theon@ FloridasAdventureCoast.com.