Monday, 09 April 2007 01:00
Keys AwardWritten by WGCU Newsroom
An innovative hurricane safety partnership between the Monroe County Tourist Development Council and Florida Keys emergency management officials was honored last week at the National Hurricane Conference in New Orleans.
The awards committee cited the proactive tourism hurricane safety program to communicate the need for visitor evacuations in the event of an approaching storm. It's the first time in the almost 30-year history of the award that a tourism agency has been honored. Former National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield praises the program.
"You’ve got to be proactive and it's really unusual to have a tourist development council like this be that proactive. Usually they do everything they can to keep the tourists there and to keep the tourist dollars coming in. But you don’t ever want to have that loss of life on your conscience there from a hurricane. One of the best practices - I use this as an example everywhere I go."
The program was developed in 1998. It features a communications plan designed to reach Keys visitors with information about impending evacuations. In 2005, the program was expanded to include information on hurricanes and safety plans for tourists before they even arrive in the Keys.