PBC tourism head warns against bill that would regulate agency


The head of Palm Beach County’s tourism marking organization is warning against a bill that would put a series of new requirements on the tourism tax-funded organization.

In an email sent to local “tourism advocates” last week, Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches, said the bill (SB1714) would “drastically impair” the agency’s ability to bring visitors and conventions here by making it virtually impossible to compete for business with other destinations. He urged those who received the email to contact state lawmakers and voice their objections to the bill, which is scheduled to be taken up by a senate committee today.

“Tourism led Florida’s economy out of the last recession,” Pesquera said in the email. “In addition, tourism continues to drive our economy, create jobs and ensures that local and state taxes remain low. We also know tourism helps to lift our state out of crisis situations, like Hurricane Irma and the Gulf Oil Spill. Some legislators are now pushing detrimental measures through multiple channels that will cripple our thriving industry.”

Among the legislation’s requirements: marketing organizations like Discover would need county commission approval for any contract over $250,000. Those contracts would also have to be posted on the county’s website for public view at least 14 days before they are executed.

Under the bill, Discover would be required to post all contracts of $5,000 or more on its website within 5 days of execution. The agency would also have to provide local officials with an annual itemized account of its travel and entertainment expenditures and of the money spent by third parties on its behalf.



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