Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism Executive Director

“Naturally different” may be the best way to describe how Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism works to position the area that boasts some 70 miles of coastline and has more waterfront property than any county in the U.S. Being bordered on the cipro 500 mg east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by the St. John’s River and split in the middle by the Indian River Lagoon, it is an unparalleled natural location. To Eric Garvey, the new director of the county’s tourism agency, the keyword in marketing the coast is “authentic.” That includes being home to America’s space program and the finest venue in the world to showcase our exploratory achievements and the place where some two missiles a month can be seen rocketing into space.

The Area’s Differentiation

The theme parks in Central Florida have to continually reinvent themselves to attract new visitors and make former visitors want to come again. But we don’t have to reinvent ourselves, because we weren’t invented in the first place. What people come here to see wasn’t created in a design studio; it is the natural beauty and authentic experiences, not virtual. All of that virtual creativity is good, in fact it is great, but we want to focus on the incredible amenities that we have here. We are playing to our unique strengths.

Another differentiator about our area, versus Central Florida, is people actually live at our attraction. That creates another dimension of the visitor/resident experience. Many times, when people live in a tourist destination, they see some of the benefits that come from being in a place people dream of visiting, but object to others. They may complain about the traffic or lines at the restaurants, but those restaurants might not be there were it not for tourists. Also, the revenue that tourists bring in actually keeps their taxes lower. Most importantly, when a place is created that is beautiful or compelling enough to attract visitors, it also becomes a place that local residents will like just as much, which we see at the Cove in Port Canaveral, Cocoa Village or the Cocoa Beach Pier.

Residents also should know that a significant part of the tourism tax, nearly 25 percent, goes to beach improvements. Studies show places that have healthy beaches offer better protection from storms, not to mention the recreational benefit to tourists and locals alike. Keeping the beach protects the whole environment.

Being a Choice Destination

There are different things that make a place a destination; our area is all about authenticity and it is telling people who we are and why they should care. We need gateways, not physical marquees, but also give visitors the clues to discover what the area has to offer. They have to get past the main streets, because the best that the area has to offer is often hidden. Where else can you go kayaking and in the process watch a missile launch? But you have to know about it. We have to connect the dots – physically and inspirationally linking people to these opportunities.

A part of that is ecotourism. That term used to mean using vacation time to do something that gave back to a wilderness area, like building a hiking trail in a national park. Now it also refers to the experience of being immersed in a natural environment. There is a tremendous opportunity to attract guests that are looking for that experience. For instance, the Stick Marsh. That is an area that needs a physical product or gateway to engage visitors. Tourists need orientation places to enjoy any amenity, like a clubhouse at a golf course.

Of course, our most important physical asset is 70 miles of beaches that are very accessible. The lagoon system is another amazing asset offering every water sport imaginable. Also, we celebrex dosage capture almost 100 miles of I-95 that

is a tremendous opportunity that we should capitalize on. It isn’t glamorous, but it is an economic engine that we can and should leverage.

Also there is a “cool factor” that comes from the space program, which we have to highlight and exploit. Let’s face it: watching a missile launch is like nothing else in the world.

For more information about Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism,

This article appears in the August 2015 issue of SpaceCoast Living. Did you like what you read here? Subscribe to SpaceCoast Living