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VISIT FLORIDA and Outbound Collective Partner to Reach Underrepresented Communities and Get Everyone Outside

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Tallahassee, Fla. and San Francisco – October 20, 2020 – Today, VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation, and the Outbound Collective, a comprehensive, community-driven digital media platform enabling everyday adventurers, announced a first-of-its-kind partnership to promote content from outdoor experts from traditionally underrepresented communities. As the primary featured destination, the ongoing collaboration will elevate Florida as a premier outdoor adventure destination through fresh, diverse perspectives via custom content stories, social media promotion, digital promotion, video content and public relations.

“VISIT FLORIDA is proud to partner with the Outbound Collective to feature Florida’s natural adventures and wide open spaces through a group of diverse creators,” said Staci Mellman, chief marketing officer of VISIT FLORIDA. “Florida is a state with unique outdoor experiences that are accessible to all types of adventurers and we are excited to bring these stories to the forefront through this partnership, especially when travelers are looking for peace of mind in destination selection.”

The heart of the campaign will be a series of 12 custom stories each created by travelers and storytellers all from underrepresented communities – people of color, LGBTQ+ community members, people with disabilities, and people of size. The stories will focus on each of VISIT FLORIDA’s eight key gateway destinations: Orlando, Tampa, Ft. Myers, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Jacksonville, Panhandle, and the Keys. These pieces will highlight the natural beauty of these areas, provide local knowledge, and provide best practices for recreating responsibly.

“We’re on a mission to get everyone outside… and we mean everyone. As a business founded, owned and operated by two people of color, we want to build a community that reflects the beautiful diversity of our country. That’s why we are looking for storytellers that come from underrepresented communities,” said Brian Heifferon, CEO and co-founder of the Outbound Collective. “This partnership with VISIT FLORIDA delivers on that mission. We admire VISIT FLORIDA for its effort to promote inclusion and diversity in the travel industry and we’re excited about this partnership.”

There is both a defined need for this effort and tremendous potential. The Federal Outdoor Recreation Trends: Effects on Economic Opportunities conducted by the USDA wrote, “African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians are almost always less likely than whites to participate in the various activities examined in this report.” And yet according to the 2019 Outdoor Participation Report conducted by the Outdoor Foundation, Hispanic, African American, and Asian participation rates are all on the rise. In Florida between 2017 and 2019, 36% of Hispanic and 31% of Black/African American visitors to the state participated in an adventure/outdoor activity like hiking, camping, fishing or scuba diving.

VISIT FLORIDA will also support the 2021 #EveryoneOutside Film Series. The Outbound launched its #EveryoneOutside Film Series last year and featured the stories of Nailah Blades, Jess Sporte, Chris Hill, and Teresa Baker and a group of amazing outdoor leaders. Multiple films from the series were selected for MountainFilm, 5Point Adventure Film Festival, and the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival, reaching tens of thousands of people. For 2021, the Outbound will continue to tell additional beautiful, important stories that elevate athletes and leaders from marginalized communities who challenge the antiquated concepts of belonging in the outdoors.

Outbound Collective and VISIT FLORIDA will be conducting joint outreach as well as utilizing applicants from Outbound Collective’s Writers Residency program to bring these stories to life.


As the Sunshine State’s No. 1 industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming 131.4 million visitors in 2019. Based on the latest economic impact study, Florida visitors contributed $91.3 billion to Florida’s economy and supported 1.5 million Florida jobs in 2018. According to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, for every $1 the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA, the official tourism marketing corporation for the State of Florida, $2.15 in tax revenue is generated. VISIT FLORIDA promotes tourism to Florida through sales, advertising, promotions, public relations and visitor services programs. As a public/private partnership, VISIT FLORIDA serves more than 13,000 tourism industry businesses, including major strategic alliance partnerships with Busch Gardens Tampa, Disney Destinations, The Hertz Corporation, Hilton, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando, Simon Shopping Destinations and Universal Orlando Resort. To learn more about VISIT FLORIDA, follow @FloridaTourism on Facebook and Twitter.

Launched in 2012, the Outbound Collective building a better, more inclusive home for the modern outdoors. It is a website, iOS and Android app dedicated to helping travelers find local adventures, tours, and lodging options around the globe. The Outbound Collective helps its 15 million users and 840,000 social media followers find the best spots to hike, camp, chill, and more – all with a simple interface, incredible photography, inspirational destination guides, how-to’s, and stories. To learn more, visit and follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter