FLORIDA KEYS – The Monroe County Tourist Development Council is easing into an advertising campaign to help restart the Florida Keys’ tourism-based economy when the destination reopens to visitors Monday, June 1. 

The date for the return of tourism flow to the island chain, announced by Monroe County officials Sunday night, is to coincide with the suspension of checkpoints on two roads leading to the Keys from the South Florida mainland. Arriving passenger screenings at Key West International and Florida Keys Marathon International airports are to be discontinued as well.

The Keys have been closed to visitors since March 22 to help stop the potential spread of COVID-19.

“Our advertising efforts are to begin this week in Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas and Nashville,” said TDC Director Stacey Mitchell. “We’ll wait until after the Memorial Day weekend to begin advertising in South Florida mainland markets to avoid confusing anyone into thinking that the checkpoints are not in effect for the holidays.”

The TDC’s campaign, developed by Tinsley Advertising, is to include ads such as “Grateful,” “Welcome Back” and “Personal Space” as well as vibrant outdoor imagery, with 30-second videos and photography. 

Online tools for industry partners, such as hotels, include digital postcards captioned, “A little something to look forward to,” “Here’s to brighter days ahead” and “We see beautiful things on the horizon.”

Tinsley also produced eight colorful Keys scenic waterfront images for use as Zoom backgrounds. 

“Our advertising approach allows the Florida Keys & Key West to consistently stay top-of-mind to our visitors to support the destination’s tourism industry,” said John Underwood, Tinsley’s chief marketing officer.

Separately, a two-week consumer video challenge, created by TDC’s public relations agency NewmanPR and launched May 11, urges social media fans and friends to post videos, up to one minute long, recreating their favorite Keys moments or activities with the hashtag #FLKeysAtHomeChallenge.

The challenge runs until May 25, when a winner chosen at random is to receive a complimentary trip to the Keys, with travel to take place after the destination reopens to visitors.

NewmanPR also launched a “Safer@Home” program that encouraged Facebook, Instagram and Twitter fans and followers to tune in for live-stream Keys content spotlighting wildlife organizations, nature-based activities and local cultural and musical offerings.

Keys lodging is to be limited to 50 percent of standard occupancy during the early stages of the destination’s reopening. Local leaders are to examine the situation later in June to make determinations regarding the relaxing of occupancy restrictions.

Florida Keys information is available at fla-keys.com.

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