Q&A – What Program Provides Florida With The Highest ROI?

Today’s entry: What non-mandatory state program provides the best ROI to Florida? All I’ve ever heard previously is the debate over whether Visit Florida is worth it.

Bottom Line: It’s a good question because to the extent that we’re going to see budget cuts because of the pandemic in this year’s state session, it’s most likely they’ll come from optional programs, like Visit Florida, as opposed to mandatory funding programs like education. We only have credible ROI analysis for select programs. There are areas of discretionary spending which haven’t been analyzed through the prism of ROI. That said the answer is, our beaches.

In 2015, Florida’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research was tasked with evaluating the effectiveness of Florida’s beach renourishment and maintenance projects. The question was whether the $44 million which had been directed over the course of three years for beach projects statewide were really worth it. The answer, yes. I’ll spare you the details of the 25 page report based resulting from a comprehensive study, but the bottom line was that every dollar which had been spent on beach projects produced a positive return of $5.40. They were able to judge this based on the improvement in tourism in specific areas where the projects had taken place year over year relative to the rest of the state. They found better beaches led to better reviews of those beaches which led to more tourists visiting those beaches and patronizing local businesses.

Florida was most recently evaluated by Fox Business to have seven of the top ten beaches in the country this year. To give you an idea of the impressiveness of the beach renourishment ROI, Visit Florida, which you referenced, has a positive ROI of 327%, which likewise is impressive but still pales in comparison. When you think the value of maintaining our beaches and keeping the positive reviews coming, it underscores the efforts outlined in Governor DeSantis’s proposed Resiliency Task Force that he’s looking for the state legislature to act on this year.

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.


Parler & Twitter:@brianmuddradio

Photos by: Getty Images

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