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Florida Huddle connects travel industry with North Florida



Laura Young

Efforts have been underway to boost local economies in North Florida by making it a destination for more tourists who visit the state. A group called Visit Natural North Florida has been an official tourism marketing organization for 14 rural counties, including Madison, since 1993, implementing a variety of campaigns to promote the natural, historic and cultural attractions of the area and enhance the area’s economy, image and quality of life through expanded revenues and employment opportunities.
One recent effort was participation in the Florida Huddle 2023 trade show, held in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Thursday, Feb. 2, through Saturday, Feb. 4. Katrina Richardson, of Monticello, represented Visit Natural North Florida at the trade show and had the opportunity to “huddle” one on one with 37 different people from around the world who are tour guides, hoteliers or attraction operators. Most of the people she met with hailed from Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico.
Her goal was to encourage those in the travel industry to adopt a “Fly and Drive” approach that would extend visitors’ experience of Florida into the northern rural locales. Tour groups often fly into Orlando and do circuit across central and south Florida, leaving out the natural beauty to be experienced to the north. Visit Natural North Florida would like to change that by getting the word out that our area is home to the largest collection of natural springs in the world, amazing gulf coast sunsets, world-class fishing, pristine rivers for paddling excursions and peaceful trails on which to hike.
To have your business, eatery, attraction, venue or accommodation included in this effort, take a look at and contact Richardson at (850) 997-5552 or email

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