Parkland survivor calls for spring break boycott of Fla. tourism until gun legislation passes

ByDanny Clemens KGO logo
Sunday, February 25, 2018
A boycott of Florida during spring break? Why it could happen
A Parkland survivor is encouraging college students to head to Puerto Rico for spring break unless Florida passes gun-control legislation.

A survivor of the Parkland school massacre is calling on college students to boycott Florida as a spring break destination unless state lawmakers take action and pass gun-control legislation.

David Hogg, a Stoneman Douglas High School senior who has emerged as one of the most prominent student voices calling for gun reform, first floated the idea of a tourism boycott on Twitter.

"Let's make a deal DO NOT come to Florida for spring break unless gun legislation is passed. These politions [sic] won't listen to us so maybe the'll [sic] listen to the billion dollar tourism industry in FL," Hogg tweeted Saturday afternoon.

A week after the shooting, Florida Gov. Rick Scott unveiled a $500 million plan that would ban firearm sales to anybody under 21 and increase the number of law enforcement officers at schools around the state. It would allow courts to prohibit mentally ill or otherwise violent people from possessing firearms in some cases and would allocate funds for more robust health care services for children and young adults.

Florida hasn't passed any type of gun control since Republicans took control of state government in 1999, according to the Associated Press.

Hogg followed up with a second tweet encouraging spring breakers to head to Puerto Rico instead. The island is still recovering from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Maria in 2017, which left hundreds of thousands of residents in the dark for months and killed at least 64 people.

The Trump administration, which Hogg and his contemporaries have harshly criticized in the weeks since the shooting at Stoneman Douglas, was also lambasted for its response to the catastrophic storm. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz went so far as to call Trump the "disaster-in-chief."

Should it come to fruition, the boycott could potentially have a serious impact on the economy of Florida, a major spring break destination in the eastern United States. More than 2 million college students travel for spring break each year, each spending an average of $1,200 per person, according to a University of Central Florida study.

Over one spring break travel season, 540,000 college students contributed $170 million to Panama City Beach's economy, that same study found.

According to Florida's tourism board, tourism around the state brings in $82 billion per year and employs more than 1.1 million Floridians.