For almost two centuries the economy of Key West and the Florida Keys seesawed between prosperity and depression.

In the early 19th century, Key West was one of the nation’s richest cities from its sponge industry and salvaging cargos from ships wrecked on its treacherous reefs. But in the Great Depression years it dropped to one of the poorest.

Construction of the Overseas Highway in 1938 began a tourism flow that was interrupted in 1980 by the flood of Cuban refugees and a depressed tourism economy.

Against that background, when our agency began representing the Florida Keys and Key West in 1980, the total advertising and public relations budget was $105,000. Annual hotel, motel and other resort billings were in the $70 million to $85 million range. Fast forward to 2010, which saw total tourism tax revenues of more than $14 million providing more than $9 million for advertising, public relations and marketing derived from more than $3.2 billion in Keys’ resort revenues.

The resulting media exposure created by NewmanPR has been widely credited by the Keys tourism community and government as a major factor in that extraordinary growth.

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