Florida Welcomes International Travelers in Five Languages Online

Willkommen! Bienvenue en Floride! Bienvenidos a Florida! Bem-Vindos a Florida! Welcome to Florida!

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ — VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official source for travel planning, has set another industry standard online — welcoming international visitors by helping them plan their itineraries via native language sites written by and for the global traveler.

Estimates show that more than two-thirds of travelers from abroad book trips online. The state hosted a record-setting 4.4 million overseas visitors last year. VISIT FLORIDA is sending a clear welcome message in launching five new comprehensive web sites written by native authors in their own voice for visitors speaking German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and British English.

By investing in the “voice” of each web site, VISIT FLORIDA is able to expound on alternative state travel options and subject matter that international travelers may not have considered. For example, research indicates that European visitors have little knowledge of Florida’s cultural and natural areas. The sites explore these subjects by presenting experiential reporting on “The Florida You Don’t Know.” Because many German-speaking visitors seek nature-based adventures, features on the German-language site cover “Must-Do Hikes” and “Florida’s Major Trails” while incorporating these opportunities into five-day itinerary suggestions.

“Simply translating our domestic market subject matter would not send our overseas audiences an inviting Florida message,” said Dale Brill, chief marketing officer for VISIT FLORIDA. “The new web sites are designed to provide an authentic Florida experience for visitors through the recognized credentials of native travel writers telling the state’s story from their vantage point.”

Topical content on each site is derived from research documenting known interests and travel patterns of visitors from each originating country, as well as answering anticipated international visitors’ specific questions and needs. Additionally, the sites all use images that reflect their respective audience in order to build confidence and rapport.

Eileen Forrow, vice president of sales at VISIT FLORIDA, added, “Research indicates that our international visitors are more inclined to make a travel decision if they can see themselves visiting the destination. All of VISIT FLORIDA’s web sites, including our new international sites, are now able to take travel planning to this more personal and meaningful level for the visitor.”

Each of the five sites is self-contained, uses intuitive navigation, and will be monitored and refreshed regularly to maintain relevance. Some common subject matter is universal to all five sites, but crafted to answer audience- specific needs. For example:

– Amenities information for approximately 3,200 tourism related
businesses (VISIT FLORIDA’s Partners)
– Specifics on Florida’s 32 city areas
– A glossary of terms (to help users understand key phrases, geography,
flora, fauna, etc.)
– “How do I” section with travel tips for international travelers
(passport, currency exchange, etc.)
– A planning section covering distance between destinations, seasonal
attire recommendations, getting married in Florida, etc.
– “The Florida You Don’t Know” experiences section
– Five-day itineraries originating in Miami, Tampa and Orlando — the
three main international entry points into Florida-and incorporating
the travel interests of each audience
– Language-specific interactive maps

VISIT FLORIDA International Visitor Web Sites

German Site: www.VISITFLORIDA.travel/deutsch

German travelers crave nature-based experiences; however they also want to visit Miami for the discos. Water sports/sunbathing, shopping and heritage activities also rank very high with German visitors to Florida. Therefore, outdoors/nature stories are balanced across the site with attractions and history/culture information.

– 7 new native-written stories
– 19 stories translated into German

French Site: www.VISITFLORIDA.travel/francais

Interacting with the locals and learning the nuances of American culture are extremely important for French travelers. The French prefer “discovery” experiences where they can learn the uniqueness of the area. The French language site features both history and culture and outdoor/nature stories. “De-stressing” is also a great motivator, hence a Luxury Spa article.

– 8 new native-written stories
– 18 stories translated into French

Spanish Site: www.VISITFLORIDA.travel/espanol

Travel patterns of Spanish-speaking visitors are amusement/theme parks, shopping, sightseeing and water sports/sunbathing activities. Nightlife options are important to Latin Americans, so the site features extra stories about nightlife.

– 12 new native-written stories
– 17 stories translated into Spanish

Portuguese Site: www.VISITFLORIDA.travel/portugues

The top leisure activities for Portuguese-speaking visitors are amusement/theme parks, shopping, sightseeing and water sports/sunbathing activities. Nightlife options are important to Brazilians, so new stories about nightlife are presented on the web site.

– 12 new native-written stories
– 18 stories translated into Portuguese

British English Site: www.VISITFLORIDA.travel/uk

The top leisure activities for UK visitors are amusement/theme parks, water sports/sunbathing activities and shopping.

– 9 new native-written stories
– 16 stories edited for United Kingdom

The sites were developed for VISIT FLORIDA by Miles Media Group, a Sarasota-based tourism information publisher.

Internationally Originating Traveler Trends
– In 2004, Florida was the second most popular United States destination
for overseas visitors with a 22 percent market share.
– In 2004, international arrivals to the United States increased by
11.8 percent, for a total of 46.1 million visitors.
– In 2005, arrivals to the United States are forecasted to grow by
6.5 percent to reach a total of 49.1 million visitors.
– The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that 4.6 million
international visitors traveled to the United States during July 2005,
an increase of almost 10 percent over July 2004. Arrivals were up by
eight percent year-to-date. The U.S. has experienced an overall
sustained growth in international visitation since the fourth quarter
of 2003. (Source: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries)

Logo Update and 10-Year Anniversary

At World Travel Market in London on Nov. 14, 2005, VISIT FLORIDA premiers a logo update that captures the organization’s position as the official source for Florida travel information and planning. The update leverages the VISIT FLORIDA name as an important consumer call-to-action while also representing Florida’s marketing corporation as a leading travel and tourism industry innovator. The design of VISIT FLORIDA’s updated look is the result of exhaustive empirical research that involved several thousand consumers from Florida travel markets worldwide and the professional judgments of staff, committee members and designers.

In January 2006, VISIT FLORIDA will commence its 10th anniversary celebration year, creating a strong bridge to a bright future from a successful foundation of 10 amazing years. With continued dedication to brand- building and maintaining relevance in a changing global marketplace, VISIT FLORIDA has much to celebrate and will recount historic milestones while laying the foundation for the next decade of Florida tourism. A schedule of commemorative events and materials will be announced early next year.

About VISIT FLORIDA

VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official source for travel planning, is the premier sales and marketing organization that promotes tourism to Florida through sales, advertising, promotions, public relations, new product development and visitor services programs both domestically and internationally. Working with the world’s major travel writers, media and broadcasters to produce print and broadcast paid and earned media, VISIT FLORIDA programs reach more than 2 billion potential visitors each year. VISIT FLORIDA maintains domestic offices in Tallahassee, and has international offices in Germany, London, Paris, Montreal, Toronto and a dedicated office in Miami serving Latin America. VISIT FLORIDA has more than 3,400 tourism industry Partners and four major strategic alliances, with Hertz, American Express Travel Related Services, AirTran Airways, and the Dollar Rent-A-Car. To learn more about VISIT FLORIDA, visit the media section at media.VISITFLORIDA.org or view the consumer web site at www.VISITFLORIDA.com.

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