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VISIT FLORIDA Partners with IMG for `Share a Little Sunshine Showdown'



Nov. 19, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - Today, VISIT FLORIDA - the state's official tourism marketing corporation - and IMG announced that they have teamed up with two of the state's top brands - the Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles - to harness the passion associated with their storied rivalry games and direct it toward the promotion of travel throughout Florida.

The tradition-rich football game - and, new this year, the men's basketball game - will serve as the signature events for this partnership to communicate the importance of the travel industry to an audience that is uniquely Florida: the state's millions of Gator and Seminole fans.  This year's matchups, which are set for Nov. 29th and 30th in Gainesville, are being branded the "Share A Little Sunshine Showdown" weekend to increase awareness for VISIT FLORIDA's Share A Little Sunshine in-state tourism advocacy platform.


"Bringing together Florida's leading industry and two of our top universities to promote tourism in our state is a win-win for everyone," said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. "These special rivalry games between Florida State and Florida provide a tremendous opportunity to tap into Floridians' passion for college sports to help grow the state's economy."

Advice from friends and family is the most trusted source of travel planning information, with 25 percent of Florida's domestic visitors each year coming to spend time with their friends and family. The Share a Little Sunshine platform was designed to engage Florida's more than 18 million residents in supporting the state's economy by personally inviting their loved ones to visit the Sunshine State.

"The economy of our state is closely tied to the tourism industry," said Florida State University Athletics Director, Stan Wilcox.  "The academic institutions are huge economic drivers in Florida and provide tremendous exposure for all the wonderful opportunities that VISIT FLORIDA features.  The Florida State vs. Florida games bring all those elements together."

Since launching Share a Little Sunshine in 2009, fans have embraced the campaign spirit - with 62 percent of Floridians inviting friends and family to visit. Not only does the program motivate Floridians to serve as advocates in promoting tourism because it supports our economy and creates jobs, but it also encourages them to get out and enjoy the Sunshine State for themselves.  

"Tourism is essential to this state, and this rivalry series showcases that," said Jeremy Foley, University of Florida Director of Athletics.  "The Gators are proud to support tourism in Florida."

In addition to UF and FSU, VISIT FLORIDA has been partnering with two more universities - USF and UCF - throughout the football season to help spread the word about Share a Little Sunshine.  By employing media assets such as radio, television, signage, social and digital, all four Florida schools have been encouraging their respective fan bases to share what they love about Florida by tagging social content with the hashtag #LoveFL.  To date, more than 17,000 photos have been posted to Instagram alone since incorporating the #LoveFL hashtag into the campaign.

There are more than 10 million fans of Florida's colleges and universities.  Every visiting friend and relative trip adds an average of $1,119 directly into the state's economy.

"Florida is the No. 1 travel destination in the world and home to the country's best fans," continued Seccombe.  "We know every 85 visitors support one Florida job and, by rallying the state's 10 million passionate college sports fans, together we can all have a huge impact on Florida's economy."



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