Brevard tourism agency tells potential visitors ‘coast is clear’ after Hurricanes Ian, Nicole

Digital advertising campaign tells tourists beaches are open

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The Space Coast Office of Tourism has kicked off a special marketing campaign to assure potential visitors that Brevard County has avoided the brunt of Hurricanes Ian and Nicole — and the county is fully open for tourism, according to News 6 partner Florida Today.

The campaign — with the theme “Our Coast Is Clear” — is being added to the Office of Tourism’s digital advertising mix for at least the next two weeks, according to the agency’s executive director, Peter Cranis.

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The concern that triggered turning on this campaign, Cranis said, is people getting mixed messages in relation to damage in the beach areas of Volusia County, and media reports “that are showing houses falling into the beach and things like that.”

“Certainly, from the hotel side of things, I’m hearing people saying, yeah, you know, it wouldn’t hurt for the next few weeks to a month to run some of this into the rotation,” Cranis said. “So people are perfectly clear that our beaches are open. We’re ready to accept guests. We’re here for you as a tourist.”

A 30-second video ad in the campaign, for example, shows scenes from Brevard’s beaches and Port Canaveral, with the message: “No storm can dull our shine. We’re open for business. And for fun. Want to do something positive? Simple. Take a vacation.”

“It’s a generic message, but it sort of tells the story without necessarily juxtaposing us against any other destination” that may have had storm damage, Cranis said. “We’re just trying to show: ‘Hey, we’re here. We’re open. We’ve got great things to do. And we’re ready to show you a good time.’”

The Office of Tourism used a similar approach after Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

Brevard County Tourist Development Council member Keith Winsten, who is executive director of the Brevard Zoo, expressed concerns at the council’s meeting on Wednesday that the campaign may be raising red flags about Brevard tourism when there is no need to do so.

But Tourist Development Council member Christy Galzerano, general manager of the Doubletree/Hilton Garden Inn Oceanfront Hotel in Cocoa Beach, thought it was a good idea to run the campaign to “get a message out there.”

She said many people from outside Florida “are a little bit geographically challenged,” and cannot differentiate between hurricane damage in the Daytona Beach or Fort Myers areas, vs. the lack of major damage in Brevard County.

The geographically limited damage in the Melbourne Beach area and beach erosion along the Space Coast was nothing like the damage that occurred in those other area.

“I get probably at least 10 calls a day asking how our hotel is after the storm,” Galzerano said. “Do we have a beach? They keep asking.”

Galzerano said the Office of Tourism should showcase Brevard’s wide beaches, “so that there’s no question that we’re the place to come.”

She also said the Office of Tourism should try to lure convention business from storm-damaged areas like the Fort Myers area, adding that, “It’s a really great opportunity to pull some business” to the Space Coast.

According to Cranis, the clear coast campaign will cost about $50,000 over two weeks, “and then we’ll evaluate whether we need to continue it or not.”

Space Coast tourism marketing is funded by Brevard County’s 5% tourist development tax on hotel rooms and other short-term rentals.

Office of Tourism Marketing Director Charity Stewart said her office also continued with its general tourism branding campaign during and just after Hurricane Nicole, “and we have not seen any dip in the performance” of those ads.

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