Seminole Co. spending money to boost tourism

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —

Seminole County is spending $30,000 to entice more tourists to come visit.

The new ad campaign will debut at six airports across the country that funnel Allegiant Air passengers to Orlando Sanford International Airport.

Video spots, signs and brochures will be displayed by baggage carousels and kiosks. An ad will also run inside Allegiant Air's in-flight magazine.

Whitney Gordon, a resident in Seminole County, appreciates the fact that the few times she deals with tourists are at the Sanford Airport.

"I like the fact that the tourists are down in Kissimmee and Orlando and that we can live in Lake Mary and be removed from the tourism industry," Gordon said.

The ads will attempt to promote everything "natural" – like award-winning trail systems, kayaking the Wekiva River and the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford, attractions in which the county takes pride.

It caught the attention of Canadian tourist Rachel Nash.

"We drove through and I like what I saw and it was more at our pace," Nash said.

Officials say if they can reel in tourists for just one night – the ads are a success.

"We realize we won't get them to stay here the entire time. But we want them to know that this is as much an economical stay for families that are maybe on a budget," said Sharon Sears of the Seminole County tourism division.

Gordon doesn't feel the same way.

"I feel that's our peace, the citizen's peace – that's what we can enjoy and I don't want to share with lots of tourists," Gordon said.

The funding for the ad campaign is coming from the county's bed tax – a special tax visitors pay when they stay at hotels.