How would you feel if tax dollars went toward luring nudists to your county?
On Tuesday, commissioners in Florida's Pasco County awarded $3,818 in tourist taxes for a promotional campaign targeted at sun-worshipping European nudists.
The money will go to the Pasco Area Naturist Development Association, an organization that goes by the name PANDAbare.
Pasco, north of Tampa on Florida's west coast, has a long history of clothing-optional hangouts dating back some 70 years. Currently, the area is so rife with nudists it boasts nearly a dozen nudist communities like Lake Como, Caliente and Paradise Lakes - all of which are in Land O' Lakes and double as year-round resorts.
Caliente resort describes itself as higher end, Pasco County Tourism Director Eric Keaton told the International Business Times. And then you have destinations like Lake Como that are a little older with more recreational vehicles and an outdoor camp-like setting.
PANDAbare sought funding in 2008 from the county's Tourist Development Council, but was denied.
In 2008, the organization made a presentation to the Tourist Development Council trying to partner and be the conduit for all the naturist destinations, Keaton said. They wanted to make an economic impact with naturist tourism though their organization's marketing efforts.
At that time, they weren't organized enough and didn't provide statistics or a marketing plan, Keaton noted.
However in three years' time, PANDAbare became so mainstream it was rewarded with a resolution signed by all five commissioners in April honoring the 70th anniversary of naturism in Pasco County.
Keaton said PANDAbare worked with the tourism board, pitched an idea in September, and was subsequently recommended for funding.
The naturist association plans to lure international tourists during the dog days of summer in July and August, the two worst revenue times of the year.
We will be focusing on France, Germany, Netherlands, and Britain, PANDAbare president Paul Brenot told a local ABC News affiliate. There are over 19 million practicing nudists in there. So heck, if we just garner a hundredth of one percent, that's a lot of tourism coming in.
The marketing campaign includes placing advertisements in publications that cater to clothing-optional clientele, such as Internaturally, that will market Pasco County as a home base for travelers as they visit Florida's museums, amusement parks, beaches, and the Space Coast.