Is there a new tourism sheriff in town? There could be! And if this week’s story is any indication we may be seeing, for the first time in my memory, a positive change in how Brevard’s tourism arm operates.

New Office of Tourism Director Peter Cranis recently related to Florida Today that expenses by the office for a surf festival and concert in Sebastian Inlet State Park approach if not exceed half a million dollars. That is far above the numbers the agency initially reported. In addition to the reported expenses there is the time and talents of tourism staff in managing, producing and staffing the event. That’s far outside the function of such an entity and Cranis means to stop it.

The soon-to-be former marketing director of the Office of Tourism oversaw that event and she is leaving (we know not if it’s of her own volition) to pursue other interests. Let’s hope they don’t involve managing other tax dollars.

The Office of Tourism and the Tourism Development Council by association are clearly in the marketing business, not underwriting, managing and production. Nor should they be. Their job, as much as many of see no need for it, is to draw visitors to Brevard not fund projects and events.

Cranis and the TDC, through its Chairman, both see this as an indicator that change in how things have been done is necessary. For too long the TDC and tourism office have been a circle of incompetence in advertising and funding for questionable projects such as billboards to nowhere with no relevant information for travelers and statues that draw absolutely nobody to South Beaches.

I’ll take this news as a glimmer of hope that we’ll see some constraints on spending and a focus on advertising to people who will actually vacation in Brevard. For if they don’t do that, the entire $15m budget is a waste.

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