Space Coast considers new tourism approach

Tourism director looking at promoting Cocoa Beach instead of Space Coast

By Justin Warmoth - Anchor

COCOA BEACH, Fla. - For years, Brevard County was known as the Space Coast and a drop in spring tourism this year worried Space Coast officials.

It worried Space Coast Tourism Executive Director Rob Varley so much that he proposed to start looking at everything that could be a factor in the decline -- even their own name. Is Cocoa Beach a bigger draw than the Space Coast?

Cocoa Beach is one of the most well-known beaches in the world and tourism officials said they want to take full advantage of that.

"You can go to Europe and ask people if they know Cocoa Beach and they know, so we have to sell what people know," said Varley.

Even though the last shuttle launch was almost two years ago, John Houvardas, co-owner of Steve's Diner in Titusville, says the Space Coast is a perfect fit for Brevard County.

"There are a lot of people that come every day just to see part of the history. I don't see their point in trying to make Cocoa Beach their main attraction," said Houvardas.

With the new Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and Port Canaveral bringing tourists to Brevard County every day, Houvardas thinks the county has more than just one draw.

"They should make one big picture of what the Space Coast is, not concentrate on one city," he says.

The Tourist Development Council says they will hold several workshops in the coming months to discuss the new plan. According to Varley, the rebranding will not completely get rid of the iconic Space Coast identity, it will just give tourists a better idea of where the region is.

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