The Florida tourism industry mourns the passing of Thom Stork who played a vital role in regional and state tourism development, including serving as part of the team that led to the formation of VISIT FLORIDA. Thom served as VISIT FLORIDA’s Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2005-2006, was a member of the Florida Council of Tourism Leaders and continued his service as a current member of VISIT FLORIDA’s Audit Committee.
Having held major marketing and leadership roles with Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, SeaWorld Orlando and The Florida Aquarium throughout his stellar 40-year career, Thom was a major force in shaping the evolution of Florida tourism. He dedicated his professional life to championing the balance between the traditional attraction elements with his own deep personal commitment to Florida ecology and conservation. This passion extended to his leadership roles at the state level where Thom engaged with legislators on the critical importance of the tourism sector and worked to secure incremental state funding to stimulate tourism in the wake of the 9-11 disaster and the more recent Gulf oil spill.
Thom was an influential force in the development of tourism marketing in the Sunshine State and a staunch advocate for the importance of selling the entire Florida destination. His tireless efforts to “bridge the Bay” by stimulating marketing cooperation between Pinellas and Hillsborough counties have resulted in attracting major events to the Tampa Bay area and allow visitors to enjoy a near seamless travel experience.
While we are saddened by his death, we are proud to honor his many accomplishments and thank Thom most especially for his vision and tireless efforts to grow the Florida tourism industry into the world-wide leader it is today.
Source: Visit Florida