Post-shuttle boost to Space Coast tourism

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER — There’s a new campaign under way to bring more money to the Space Coast now that many fear the retirement of the shuttle program could seriously hurt the community.

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER — There’s a new campaign under way to bring more money to the Space Coast now that many fear the retirement of the shuttle program could seriously hurt the community.

It’s called Takeoff for Liftoff.

The campaign was created by business leaders, NASA, and leaders with Space Coast Tourism.

They are about to launch a major billboard campaign. Signs will be seen on U-S 1 and Interstate 95 in several cities in Florida, and even as far north as the Carolinas.

There are also television, radio, and Internet advertisements in the works.

There are only five launches scheduled, but tourism leaders say they are trying to stress the attraction of rockets and satellites, along with Brevard County beaches, the cruise industry and the wildlife.

“I think people are thinking we are just going to close down the space center and go home, and that’s not the case,” said Rob Varley, Space Coast Tourism. “The space program is alive and well and moving forward and we’re excited about the new programs.”

Tourism leaders say they think 2010 will bring in a lot of tourism dollars because of the urgency people feel with only a few launches remaining.

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