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Fort Lauderdale Not Giving Away Gas Cards to Tourists

NBCCBSABCWSVN, the Associated Press, and the Boston Globe have all published items, many citing the Sun-Sentinel, declaring that the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau would be giving away thousands of gas cards to tourists to encourage visits to the area. While there are cards involved, they aren't just for gas.

CVB spokeswoman Jessica Taylor said the cards are just regular old American Express gift cards you can spend anywhere -- which, yeah, means the gas station, but they could also be used for cigarettes and cheeseburgers. Wouldn't "cigarette and cheeseburger cards" be a better way to lure people down here?

Either way, they mean business with this program -- Taylor said the association is prepared to spend $100,000 on the cards, enough to buy around 26,000 gallons of gas. Or 94,000 McChickens. Or 15,000 packs of cowboy killers. Whatever brings you to the city.

"With the rise in the gas prices and the costs associated with travel that have just come up, it's something to inspire people to continue their travel plans," Taylor said.

The CVB is also willing to spend $100,000 to advertise the program, Taylor said. The $200,000 tab is paid for with city taxes, but you don't necessarily have to be mad about it -- while $26,000 of your tax dollars did go to "don't give money to hobos" signs, the visitor's bureau is funded with bed-tax dollars from hotels.

The offer is combined with the bureau's "Super Summer Savings" deal, in which local businesses offer two-for-one deals between May and October. If you want to get those sweet little money cards, you have to book a hotel stay of at least two nights through either the CVB website or an app on its Facebook page.

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Rich Abdill

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