FORT WALTON BEACH — The Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council will continue with a plan to spend $525,000 marketing Destin and Fort Walton Beach as a prime Christmas destination.
The council recently voted 4-3 to fund the campaign, rejecting a revised, less expensive version presented by Peter Mayer Advertising.
The TDC had agreed to reconsider the Christmas campaign after several members of the hospitality industry voiced concerns about the cost and timing. It’s scheduled to kick off tomorrow, Sept. 26.
The $525,000 in bed tax dollars will be used to buy a wide variety of ads including cable television, regional magazines and online travel sites. The ads will promote local holiday activities including a month-long lighted boat parade in Destin Harbor, Christmas cooking demonstrations and shopping discounts.
The TDC is also shifting its marketing efforts to drawing tourists in a higher income bracket. Folks earning around $75,000 a year or more can expect a little more attention from Okaloosa County in the coming year.
The decision is part of an ongoing effort by the TDC to boost visitation — and the money spent during those visits — during the summer as well as the shoulder seasons.
An official logo revision will promote the area as “The Heart of the Emerald Coast” and drop Okaloosa Island from the banner.