VISIT FLORIDA Welcomes New Tourism Industry Leadership
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (July 3, 2012) – With the start of its new fiscal year on July 1, VISIT FLORIDA – the state’s official tourism marketing corporation – ushers in new leadership to serve on its industry committees and Board of Directors. Glenn Hastings, Executive Director of the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council, will take over as the 2012-2013 Chairman of the Board. Hastings succeeds Tony Lapi, CEO of the ‘Tweens Waters Inn Island Resort on Captiva Island, who served as Chairman during a year in which Florida welcomed a record number of visitors.
“Tony truly epitomizes small business entrepreneurism at its very finest and has been a tremendous advocate for the interests of his fellow tourism business owners throughout the state during his year as chairman,??? said Chris Thompson, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. “As we move into the year when Florida will commemorate its’ 500th anniversary, I can’t think of a better successor than Glenn who has been a tireless promoter of the Florida tourism product for nearly four decades.???
As the official tourism marketing organization charged with promoting Florida as a leisure travel and meetings destination, VISIT FLORIDA plans and implements a wide variety of sales and marketing initiatives. The Board of Directors is the organization’s private sector governing body who, along with the members of its 12 committees, provide guidance, input and insight into the evolution of VISIT FLORIDA programs and opportunities.
“Service on the VISIT FLORIDA board of directors is the highest level example of the industry driven nature of our public-private partnership with the state of Florida for the past 16 years,” said Tony Lapi, outgoing Chairman of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors. “The support of the tourism industry plays a vital role in the success of VISIT FLORIDA’s mission and I would like to thank Glenn and all those who continue to dedicate their time and expertise to further the goals of the organization.???
As the state’s No. 1 industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming a record 86.5 million visitors in 2011 who spent $67.2 billion, generating 23 percent of the state’s sales tax revenue and employing more than 1 million Floridians. VISIT FLORIDA’s ability to successfully market the Florida tourism product and bring in more visitors helps the state of Florida and all residents by building and growing businesses, creating jobs and providing family-sustaining wages. These efforts to attract more visitors also generate increased tourist spending that provides funding to help build roads, support schools and pay for vital programs.
Glenn Hastings went from creating a photo essay on the city of St. Augustine as a young newspaper intern to becoming the President and CEO of that area’s Visitors and Convention Bureau. He served 15 years in that position and is now in his 17th year as Executive Director of the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council. Hastings has established a legacy of creating memorable events for the community, founding Florida’s Birding & Photo Fest, as well as overseeing the county’s Cultural Events Division which operates the St. Augustine Amphitheatre and the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. His tourism experience also includes stints in Daytona Beach and Polk County.
“I am honored to be serving the tourism industry as its Chair during the state’s 500th anniversary and am proud to announce my fellow members of the 2012-2013 VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and committees,??? said Hastings. “Together, with the VISIT FLORIDA staff, we will work tirelessly to grow Florida into the No. 1 travel destination in the world.???
Use this sortable spreadsheet to view the 31 members of the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and the 185 tourism industry representatives serving on the 12 VISIT FLORIDA committees. The term for all members is July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013.