TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (January 14, 2013) - Today, VISIT FLORIDA - the state's official tourism marketing corporation - marked the official launch of its year-long commemoration to honor the 500th anniversary of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon's arrival on Florida's sunny shores. His discovery in 1513 paved the way for 500 years of exploring the Sunshine State by billions of visitors from all around the world.
'Secretary Detzner and his team at the Florida Department of State have done a tremendous job organizing a host of official activities and events tied to the 500th anniversary, said Will Seccombe, VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO. -With so many of these historic and cultural programs available to the public, VISIT FLORIDA has focused on leveraging the commemoration to increase visitation to the state in 2013.
To that end, VISIT FLORIDA developed its Viva Florida 500 campaign that includes a multitude of resources and opportunities for the Florida tourism industry to promote their destination's activities. The campaign kicked off with a year-long sweepstakes promotion and a special Official Viva Florida 500 Facebook Timeline that encourages visitors to be a part of the Sunshine State's rich history.
-Florida's 500 Years of Adventure-
sweepstakes offers participants the chance to make their own Florida history by entering to win a different prize package each week for the entire year. The promotion runs through December 29 and includes prizes provided by nearly 100 of VISIT FLORIDA's tourism industry partners from around the state, as well as Hertz and Shutterfly. Entries for the first prize package of the sweepstakes featuring Tallahassee destinations are now being accepted at win.VISITFLORIDA.com
To honor Florida's 500 years as the world's destination of choice, VISIT FLORIDA has combined the state's historical events with our visitors- shared memories to create an interactive story using Facebook's Timeline feature. It includes hundreds of postings and images gathered from destinations and attractions around the state to populate the timeline dating back to 1513. Official content will be added to the timeline throughout the year at Facebook.com/VISITFLORIDA
. Visitors are encouraged to add their favorite Florida vacation memories using the Share Your Florida Story
feature to be a lasting part of the Sunshine State's official timeline.
Other elements of the campaign include the development of special Viva Florida 500 editions of American Heritage and Florida Travel + Life magazines, as well as the production of PSAs featuring Ponce de Leon
himself asking Floridians to invite their friends and family to visit the state this year. In addition, VISIT FLORIDA's content and PR teams have created special opportunities for our industry Partners to tell their local story through the VISITFLORIDA.com website, a Viva Florida 500 press room on PitchEngine
and during media missions and receptions in key U.S. markets such as New York, Boston, Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth.
-Perhaps known best for our beautiful beaches and exciting theme parks, the Viva Florida 500 commemoration provides the Florida tourism industry with an historic opportunity to expand travelers- perceptions of the state, said Susannah Costello, Vice President of Brand for VISIT FLORIDA. -By offering visitors a whole new reason to explore the Sunshine State in 2013, we can continue to increase the economic impact of travelers to Florida.