The Florida Attractions Association has been the industry representative of Florida tourism for more than 70 years.
Originally founded in 1949, the Florida Attractions Association (FAA) is a privately-operated organization comprised of a membership of attractions throughout the state as well as secondary industry businesses that support and supply attractions. As stated on their website: “The FAA provides education, networking, professional development, advocacy, and communication channels”.
Created by the owners of many of Florida’s most important post-WWII attractions, formational meetings were held for several years before the 1949 founding date. There were several issues of primary concern for the founders, including pooling and coordinating advertising, working with the state on promotional efforts and a set of industry standards that would encourage all member attractions to work towards producing a quality experience for the millions of visitors that were fueling Florida tourism’s Golden Age.
As much as tourism in Florida has evolved in 70 years, it’s remarkable that some of the FAA’s earliest member attractions continue to operate today, albeit under different circumstances. For instance, a founding member – Parrot Jungle in Miami – is now known as Jungle Island, has moved to another location and expanded to present more than birds. Another founding member, Cypress Gardens is now Legoland Florida, one of Florida’s modern theme parks, though it’s world-class gardens and water ski shows continue to be important parts of the park.
Through the 1950s and 1960s, the FAA would support and be supported by a long list of notable attractions. Many of these parks were owned by individuals who were synonymous with their attractions and who guided the direction of the work of the FAA. Individuals such as Dick Pope of Cypress Gardens, Franz Scherr of Parrot Jungle and Newton Perry of Weeki Wachee helped shape the FAA as well as the commercial development of Florida, which was on its way to becoming the most successful tourist destination in the world.
Once modern theme parks began to be built in the 1970s (technically, the construction of Walt Disney World began in 1967) they too joined the FAA. Disney World, Busch Gardens, SeaWorld and Circus World all became members showing the importance of the FAA.
Today the FAA continues to work with Florida attractions, the Florida Commission on Tourism and Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism marketing organization.
Below are brochures from the FAA ranging from 1953 until the late 1970s. Only a few are dated, so the other dates are approximate. The brochures show the evolution of the nature of Florida tourism from the beginning of its Golden Age through to the time when major theme parks began to dominate the industry.