Governor Ron DeSantis Issues Executive Order in Preparation for Invest 93L

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Executive Order 23-171, declaring a state of emergency for 33 counties in preparation for Invest 93L, which is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm in the coming days. The Governor and the Florida Division of Emergency Management are taking timely precautions to ensure Florida’s communities, infrastructure and resources are prepared, including those communities that are still recovering following Hurricane Ian. To read the Executive Order, click here.

“I signed an Executive Order issuing a state of emergency out of an abundance of caution to ensure that the Florida Division of Emergency Management can begin staging resources and Floridians have plenty of time to prepare their families for a storm next week,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I encourage Floridians to have a plan in place and ensure that their hurricane supply kit is stocked.”

To find resources to help you and your family prepare for this storm, you can visit

The forecast currently places a tropical storm or hurricane making landfall along Florida’s Gulf Coast early – mid next week, with the potential for heavy rainfall, strong winds, and for isolated tornadic activity. Governor DeSantis issued the State of Emergency for the following 33 counties:

  • Alachua
  • Bay
  • Calhoun
  • Charlotte
  • Citrus
  • Columbia
  • DeSoto
  • Dixie
  • Franklin
  • Gadsden
  • Gilchrist
  • Gulf
  • Hamilton
  • Hardee
  • Hernando
  • Hillsborough
  • Jefferson
  • Lafayette
  • Lee
  • Leon
  • Levy
  • Liberty
  • Madison
  • Manatee
  • Marion
  • Pasco
  • Pinellas
  • Polk
  • Sarasota
  • Sumter
  • Suwannee
  • Taylor
  • Wakulla

Follow @FLSERT and @GovRonDeSantis on Twitter for live updates. Visit to find information on emergency preparedness.



The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has increased the per diem reimbursement rates for the fiscal year 2024. Effective October 1, 2023 to September 23, 2024, the continental United States (CONUS) maximum lodging allowance rates in some existing per diem localities will be raised to $107 from $98.

The new rates will see 302 locations receiving a maximum lodging allowance higher than the standard rate, GSA said in a statement.

Meals and incidental expenses per diem tiers for FY 2024 remain unchanged at $59-$79, with the standard M&IE rate remaining fixed at $59.

The per diem allowance is paid to federal employees for their lodging, meals and incidental expenses incurred for official government travel.

The maximum lodging allowance is based on historical ADR data, less than 5%. The pandemic, however, resulted in unprecedented declines in ADR and an uncertain recovery of the hotel industry.

The ADR data available to establish FY 2024 rates was from before the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency expired on May 11, GSA said and used data from the trailing April through March. Like the procedure used for FY 2023, GSA made upward adjustments to ensure maximum lodging allowances for federal travelers were sufficient in the next fiscal year.

Reacting to GSA’s announcement, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) said the $9 increase in the lodging rate was a “positive step” for hoteliers in the country, as government travel supports billions in travel spending. Many private-sector organizations also base travel reimbursements on federal per diem rates, Chip Rogers, AHLA president and CEO, said in a statement.

“The per diem rates GSA announced today come after months of hard work AHLA put in to lobby the administration on behalf of hoteliers nationwide. We thank GSA for working to ensure hotels are fairly compensated for the excellent services they provide government travelers year in and year out. We will continue to work with GSA and advocate for lodging and meal rate increases that reflect market conditions,” Rogers said.

Each year, AHLA works with the GSA to ensure that per diem rates “are fair to both hoteliers and the government.”



Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Adds Meghan Myhill to Communications Team

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) has announced the recent hire of Meghan Myhill as Communications and Marketing Coordinator. Myhill joins the team led by Communications Director Ashley Chambers in the Tallahassee office. In her role, Myhill will work within FRLA and with its members, external partners, and stakeholders to amplify messaging and digital efforts to protect, educate, and promote Florida’s hospitality industry.

“We are thrilled to welcome Meghan to the FRLA family,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the FRLA. “In her short time here, she has already demonstrated incredible value to the FRLA team and our members. Her strong skills with digital communications and marketing are a true asset as we work to promote Florida’s restaurants, hotels, attractions, and suppliers.”

Myhill graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida State University and previously served for six years in Congressman Neal Dunn’s office in both Washington, D.C. and Tallahassee.

For more information on the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, please visit

About FRLA: The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Founded in 1946 as the Florida Restaurant Association, FRLA merged with the Florida Hotel and Motel Association in 2006. FRLA’s more than 10,000 members include independent hoteliers and restaurateurs, household name franchises, theme parks and suppliers. The association’s mission is to protect, educate and promote Florida’s nearly $112 billion hospitality industry which represents 1.5 million employees. Dedicated to safeguarding the needs of the membership, FRLA provides legislative advocacy to ensure the voices of its members are heard and their interests are protected. The association offers regulatory compliance and food safety training through Safe Staff® and FRLA’s subsidiary, RCS Training. The FRLA Educational Foundation provides industry-developed, career-building high school programs throughout the state.


Important Human Trafficking Compliance Update from DBPR

DBPR Issues Industry Bulletin on Human Trafficking

Due to a recent legislative update to section 509.096(3), Florida Statutes, the Division of Hotels & Restaurants will no longer afford a public lodging establishment with 90 days to correct a human trafficking awareness violation, as was previously allowed. This change will take effect July 1, 2023. This change affects all DBPR-licensed public lodging establishments. 

Click the button below to read the full industry bulletin, and find a summary and additional information below. 


A summary of the legislative changes are as follows:

Starting July 1, 2023
– A public lodging establishment found to be in violation of a human trafficking awareness requirement for the first time will only be afforded 45 days to correct the violation. Previously, 90 days was afforded and administrative fines would not be assessed if the violation was corrected within the 90 days.
– A public lodging establishment found to be in violation of a human trafficking awareness requirement for the second or subsequent time will be assessed the applicable administrative fines as the establishment will no longer be afforded an opportunity to correct the violation. Previously, 90 days was afforded and administrative fines would not be assessed if the violation was corrected within the 90 days.

The Division of Hotels & Restaurants has published an industry bulletin to notify the industry of these changes. The Division also maintains a webpage with up-to-date information on the human trafficking awareness requirements that are applicable to public lodging establishments in Florida. Please visit for more information.


Malaria in Florida: Department of Health Issues Mosquito-Borne Illnesses Advisory

Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, Florida Department of Health (Department) is issuing a statewide mosquito-borne illness advisory following four confirmed and recovered local cases of malaria in Sarasota County. All individuals have been treated and have recovered. Malaria is transmitted through infected mosquitoes. Residents throughout the state should take precautions by applying bug spray, avoiding areas with high mosquito populations, and wearing long pants and shirts when possible – especially during sunrise and sunset when mosquitos are most active.

The Department continues to work closely with local partners and county mosquito control. Aerial and ground mosquito spraying continues to be conducted in these areas to mitigate the risk of further transmission.

In Florida, Malaria is transmitted through infected Anopheles mosquitoes. The cause of malaria in these cases has been identified as the Plasmodium vivax species. Effective treatment is readily available through hospitals and other health care providers. Individuals in this area with symptoms of fever, chills, sweats, nausea/vomiting, and headache should seek immediate medical attention.

The Department advises the public to remain diligent in their personal mosquito protection efforts by remembering to “Drain and Cover.

DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.

  • Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpots, or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has collected.
  • Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren’t being used.
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pet’s water bowls at least once or twice a week
  • Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
  • Maintain swimming pools and keep appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.

  • Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.

COVER skin with clothing or appropriate repellent.

  • Clothing – Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who must work in areas where mosquitoes are present.
  • Repellent – Apply mosquito repellent appropriately.
    • Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone, and IR3535 are effective.
    • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.

Tips on Repellent Use

  • Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent.
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin or clothing, but not under clothing.
  • Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Do not apply permethrin directly to skin.
  • Some repellents are not suitable for children. Ensure repellent is safe for children and age appropriate:
    • Mosquito repellents containing lemon eucalyptus oil or para-menthane-diol should not be used on children under the age of three years.
    • DEET is not recommended on children younger than two months old.
    • Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children.
    • Parents should apply repellent to their hands first and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing.

The Department continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria, chikungunya, and dengue. Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds to the exit disclaimer iconFlorida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

For more information on what repellent is right for you, consider using the Environmental Protection Agency’s search tool to help you choose skin-applied repellent exit disclaimer iconproducts.

For more information, visit the Department’s website here.


About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the exit disclaimer iconPublic Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at exit disclaimer icon@HealthyFla and on exit disclaimer iconFacebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit


Bipartisan, Bicameral Lawmakers Introduce the Credit Card Competition Act


WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-18) and Lance Gooden (R-TX-05), along with U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), Peter Welch (D-VT), and J.D. Vance (R-OH), today introduced the bipartisan, bicameralCredit Card Competition Act of 2023legislation that would enhance competition and choice in the credit card network market which is currently dominated by the Visa-Mastercard duopoly. Building off of debit card competition reforms enacted by Congress in 2010, the bill would direct the Federal Reserve to ensure that giant credit card-issuing banks offer a choice of at least two networks over which an electronic credit transaction may be processed.

“Right now, our country’s credit card landscape does not reflect a competitive market, with just two major credit card companies setting prices for the nation’s largest banks. The current system harms consumers and small businesses. Our Credit Card Competition Act changes that by fostering competition. Like when Congress enacted an alternate network option for debt cards, this reform will increase incentives for innovation, enhance payment security, and, most importantly, ease burdensome fees by allowing for credit card choice,” said Lofgren.

“Large credit card firms have consistently demonstrated prioritizing self-interest over our constituents,” said Gooden. “The Credit Card Competition Act serves to address this imbalance and restore a healthy, competitive free market that operates in the interest of consumers.”

“Credit card swipe fees inflate the prices that consumers pay for everyday purchases like groceries and gas.  It’s time to inject real competition into the credit card network market, which is dominated by the Visa-Mastercard duopoly,” said Durbin.  “This legislation, which builds upon pro-competition reforms Congress enacted in 2010, would give small businesses a meaningful choice when it comes to card networks, and it would enable innovators to gain a foothold in the credit card market.  Bringing real competition to credit card networks will help reduce swipe fees and hold down costs for Main Street merchants and their customers.”

“When it comes to Main Street vs. Wall Street, I’ll stand with Main Street businesses, who are the backbone of our economy, every single time,” said Marshall. “At a time of economic uncertainty and skyrocketing inflation, these credit card companies are increasing their hidden swipe fees and price gouging small businesses and consumers.  Our legislation would rein in the big banks and the credit card industry, drive down costs for convenience stores, gas stations, and other small businesses, and ultimately pass those savings down to consumers.  This legislation is the right thing to do, and I am proud to reintroduce it with bicameral and bipartisan support.”

“Interchange fees put a brutal strain on our small businesses, but because of the Visa-Mastercard duopoly in the credit card network market, Main Street businesses have no choice but to pay these crushing fees or risk going under,” said Welch.  “The Credit Card Competition Act will restore choice and competition in the credit card network market, helping to bring down costs for small businesses and making it easier for these essential businesses to thrive.”

“Working families all over Ohio are getting crushed by inflation every time they go to the grocery store or fill up on gas.  Meanwhile, two massive companies have a stranglehold on credit card swipe fees and are increasing the costs of these everyday essentials,” said Vance. “This legislation will increase competition in the American economy and drive down prices for consumers.”

“Due to a lack of competition, credit card companies have been able to exponentially increase hidden processing fees over the last decade.  These fees are most retailers’ highest business expense after labor and rent.  By requiring more than one network option on credit cards, the Credit Card Competition Act would foster competition and transparency in the credit card market so that card networks would have to compete for business on fees and terms – just as we compete for our customers’ business,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, President and CEO of FMI, The Food Industry Association.

There are currently four U.S. credit card networks: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.  Visa and Mastercard are known as “four-party” networks; they act as agents for thousands of card-issuing banks and mandate the fees and terms that the banks receive from merchants for each transaction. Merchants have effectively no leverage to negotiate fee rates and terms in four-party network systems, because they cannot risk losing access to all the consumers served by Visa’s and Mastercard’s member banks.

Visa and Mastercard wield enormous market power in credit cards; according to the Federal Reserve, they account for nearly 576 million cards, or about 83% of general-purpose credit cards.  Visa’s and Mastercard’s market power and network structure have enabled them to impose fees on U.S. merchants that are among the world’s highest, charging a total of $93 billion in U.S. merchant credit card fees in 2022.  These fees include interchange or swipe fees which Visa and Mastercard require merchants to pay to issuing banks, as well as network fees that Visa and Mastercard require merchants to pay directly to them. Consumers ultimately pay for all of these fees in the price of the goods and services they buy.

Under the Credit Card Competition Act, the Federal Reserve would issue regulations, within one year, ensuring that banks in four-party card systems that have assets of over $100 billion cannot restrict the number of networks on which an electronic credit transaction may be processed to less than two unaffiliated networks, at least one of which must be outside of the top two largest networks. This would inject real competition into the credit card market—opening the door for new market entrants such as current debit-only networks, encouraging innovation and enhanced security, creating backup options if a network crashes, and exerting competitive constraints on Visa and Mastercard’s fee rates.

The Credit Card Competition Act is supported by organizations including the American Beverage Licensees, Armed Forces Marketing Council, Energy Marketers of America, FMI, Hispanic Leadership Fund, International Franchise Association, National Association of College Stores, National Association of Convenience Stores, National Association of Theater Owners, National Grocers Association, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, National Wildlife Refuge Association, NATSO, NFIB, Retail Industry Leaders Association, SIGMA, U.S. PIRG, and over 200 state and regional business associations.

A one-pager of the bill can be found here

Governor Ron DeSantis Announces $25 Million to Lee County Through the Local Government Emergency Bridge Loan Program

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the award of a $25 million bridge loan to Lee County through the Local Government Emergency Bridge Loan Program. The program, created in a Special Legislative Session earlier this year, is administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to support government operations that may have been impacted by hurricanes Ian or Nicole. These funds bridge the gap for local governments while they await federal relief or for their revenues to recover after a natural disaster. Today’s award adds to $11.9 million Governor DeSantis awarded to the Town of Fort Myers Beach through the Local Government Emergency Bridge Loan Program, bringing the total awarded in this program to nearly $37 million.

“I’m proud to announce Lee County is the second local government to receive a Local Government Emergency Bridge Loan to keep them on their feet as they focus on their continued recovery efforts following Hurricane Ian,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Thanks to the Florida Legislature for working quickly to implement this program, to bridge the gap for these local governments until their revenues recover.”

“Governor DeSantis has boldly led the state’s response and recovery efforts following hurricanes Ian and Nicole, deploying every available resource to help Floridians and communities in their recovery efforts,” said Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Acting Secretary Meredith Ivey. “Today’s announcement is another demonstration of his ongoing commitment to helping local governments like Lee County while they continue to recover. We encourage eligible local governments to apply for this relief.”

“The Governor’s commitment to Southwest Florida is phenomenal,” said Senate President Kathleen Passidomo. “Together, we authored the Bridge Loan Program during the Special Session to help communities in Southwest Florida, including Lee County, continue their operations. The program is modeled after the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, which the Governor activates during an emergency. Loans are provided interest-free. Our communities brought this concern to our attention earlier this year, and together we took quick action to help make our communities whole!”

The Local Government Emergency Bridge Loan is a one-time $50 million appropriation to fund governmental operations within eligible Florida counties and municipalities between the time of the hurricane and the time additional funding sources or revenues are secured.

Counties and municipalities located in the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster declarations for hurricanes Ian or Nicole may apply. A local government applying for a bridge loan must demonstrate that a hurricane may cause or has inflicted substantial loss of tax or other revenues. They must also establish the need for financial assistance to continue performing governmental operations.

DEO is accepting applications on a rolling basis until available funds are exhausted. Eligible applicants are encouraged to use this checklist to submit the required documentation and information via email to For more information about the Local Government Emergency Bridge Loan Program, please visit


RELEASE: Florida has Lowest Unemployment Rate Amongst the 10 Largest States in the Nation and Experienced Record Tourism in First Quarter of 2023

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. —  Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Florida has the lowest unemployment rate among the top 10 largest states in the nation at 2.6 percent, as Floridians see continued economic stability spurred on in part by the thriving tourism industry. Between January and March of 2023, Florida saw a record 37.9 million visitors, the largest volume of visitors ever recorded in a single quarter. In April 2023, Florida’s unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for the fourth consecutive month, which is 0.8 percentage points lower than the national rate of 3.4 percent. Florida’s statewide unemployment rate has remained lower than the national rate for 30 consecutive months since November 2020.

In April 2023, the labor force was 10,960,000, an increase of 5.8 percent since February 2020. Between April 2022 and April 2023, Florida’s total private sector employment grew by 336,200 jobs (4.1 percent), which is faster than the national private sector job growth rate of 2.7 percent during the same time period. In April 2023, with the exception of October 2022, Florida employers have added jobs for 35 months since May 2020. Florida’s over-the-year private sector job growth rate has exceeded the nation’s growth rate for 25 consecutive months since April 2021.

“Through strong economic policy and strategic investments, Florida is outperforming the nation and providing more opportunity for its citizens, resulting in more than 200,000 new business formations this year alone and an unemployment rate near an all-time low,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “In Florida, we are combatting negative national economic headwinds by promoting policies that support Florida businesses and families and attract record numbers of tourists every day.”

“Florida’s low unemployment rate of 2.6 percent – the lowest among the top 10 largest states in the nation – is a testament to Governor DeSantis’ bold leadership,” said Meredith Ivey, Acting Secretary of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). “Governor DeSantis’ Freedom First policies are helping Florida businesses continue to create jobs and Floridians feel confident in the meaningful job opportunities available to them, ensuring the economic prosperity of the great state of Florida and its residents.”

“The Q1 estimates show that 2023 is on track to continue Florida’s outstanding performance in welcoming visitors,” said Dana Young, VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO. “Each quarter shows that Florida is the most sought-after destination for visitors and we are excited to continue our efforts in welcoming more throughout the year. VISIT FLORIDA is proud of the work we have done with our partners in sharing Florida’s sunshine with the world and we thank Governor DeSantis for his unwavering support of our organization and the tourism industry.”

Florida’s strong economy and freedom first policies continue to draw record numbers of visitors that support Florida’s businesses. Florida welcomed 37.9 million total visitors between January and March 2023, according to VISIT FLORIDA estimates. This is the largest volume of visitors ever recorded for a single quarter. A record high of approximately 34.6 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in Q1 2023, continuing the trend of domestic visitation growth for an eighth consecutive quarter. Florida welcomed 1.8 million overseas travelers in Q1 2023, an increase of 36 percent from Q1 2022. This marks the closest that overseas visitation has come to full recovery since the onset of the pandemic. Total enplanements at 19 Florida airports rose 11.8 percent in Q1 2023 from Q1 2022, reaching 27.6 million visitors.

Florida’s labor force grew over-the-year by 2.3 percent (+248,000), faster than the national labor force growth rate of 1.7 percent. In April 2023, Florida’s labor force grew by 0.3 percent (+38,000), while the national labor force declined by less than 0.1 percent over the month. In April 2023, total private employment increased by 18,200 (+0.2 percent), growth on par with the national rate of change.

In April 2023, the professional and business services sector gained the most jobs among all major industries, adding 10,900 jobs (+0.7 percent) from the previous month, followed by education and health services with 7,100 jobs (+0.5 percent) and financial activities with the addition of 2,700 jobs (+0.4 percent).

Data from the month of April continues to indicate there are many job opportunities available for Floridians throughout the state, with more than 464,000 jobs posted online. Floridians in search of work and new job opportunities are encouraged to turn to the CareerSource Florida network for help. Floridians can find guidance on how to register with Employ Florida and search listings of available local job openings. Career seekers also can improve their employability by perfecting resume writing and interviewing skills, establishing career goals and pursuing customized career training. These services are provided at no cost to job seekers.

To view the April 2023 jobs reports by region, please see below:

To view the April 2023 employment data, visit:

Visit Florida Insight for more information on labor market and economic data. Additionally, the Department has provided a video to assist users in explaining the data provided through Florida Insight.


RELEASE: Hundreds of Hoteliers Lobby Congress for More Workers

WASHINGTON (May 18, 2023) The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) this week hosted its Hotels on the Hill fly-in on Capitol Hill. More than 200 hoteliers representing 30-plus states met with members of Congress to share how labor shortages are impacting hotels and lobby for policies to help grow the hotel workforce.

The event took place May 15-17 and included more than 100 meetings with House and Senate offices, including House and Senate leadership.

During the event, hoteliers urged Congress to:

  • Expand the legal H-2B guestworker program by including an H-2B Returning Worker Exemption in the Fiscal Year 2024 Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill. The H-2B program is vital to helping independent hotels and resorts in remote vacation destinations fill seasonal roles, but the program is capped at 66,000 visas each year. AHLA is asking Congress to modify the H-2B nonimmigrant visa program by exempting returning workers from the inadequate 66,000 annual visa cap. These employees would provide critical staffing relief for seasonal small business hotels and help to rebuild the post-pandemic economy.


  • Cosponsor and pass the Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act (S.255/H.R.1325). A historic number of asylum seekers are already housed in hotels across America. They are awaiting court dates and are following the legal process. Unfortunately, current law prevents them from legally working for at least six months, forcing them to rely on assistance from local governments and communities. This bipartisan legislation would help hotels address critical staffing needs by allowing asylum seekers to work as soon as 30 days after applying for asylum.


  • Cosponsor and pass the Save Local Business Act (S.1261/H.R.2826). The National Labor Relations Board has proposed a new “joint employer” legal standard that would subjectively determine which entities would be considered co-employers for collective bargaining purposes. The NLRB regulation would minimize franchisees’ control over their own businesses, severely complicate hotels’ ability to contract with independent vendors, and allow courts and government bureaucrats to subjectively determine joint-employment liability. The Save Local Business Act would clarify the definition of an employer as an entity with direct control over specific working conditions.

America’s nearly 62,500 hotels support nearly 1 in 25 American jobs, help drive nearly $760 billion into the U.S. economy, and support more than $211 billion in federal, state, and local taxes each year. To continue these positive economic contributions in communities across the country, hotels need to hire more people.

There are more than 100,000 hotel jobs currently open across the nation, and as of March, national average hotel wages were near all-time highs at more than $23 per hour. Since the pandemic, average hotel wages have increased faster than average wages throughout the general economy, and hotel benefits and flexibility are better than ever.

“Harnessing the voices of local hoteliers from across the country is the most effective way to achieve advocacy victories. That’s why AHLA’s Capitol Hill fly-in event, Hotels on the Hill, is so important,” said AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers. “When AHLA members speak with their representatives, Congress listens. The face-to-face connections Hotels on the Hill facilitates are the most effective way to strengthen relationships with influential lawmakers and illustrate to Congress the essential role hotels play in creating jobs and supporting communities.”

 About AHLA

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the largest hotel association in America, representing more than 30,000 members from all segments of the industry nationwide – including iconic global brands, 80% of all franchised hotels, and the 16 largest hotel companies in the U.S. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support, and workforce development programs to move the industry forward. Learn more at


Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Broward Chapter Awards Local Hospitality Scholarships, Connects Students with Top Broward Employers

FORT LAUDERDALE – The Broward Chapter of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association recently held the Excellence in Education Breakfast Awards at the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale West Hotel to celebrate education in hospitality with scholarship and teacher awards, while honoring the hospitality community. Students, teachers, business leaders, and community partners came together to recognize and celebrate the future generation of hospitality leaders in Broward County. The event also served as a connector between the students and top employers in Broward County, including JetBlue, Seminole Hard Rock and many other local hotels and restaurants. At the event, FRLA awarded $2,000 in scholarships to each winning student and $500 to each winning teacher. The Teachers of the Year were also surprised with roundtrip airline tickets from JetBlue.

For over a decade, annual fundraisers have been instrumental in education, providing scholarships, curriculum, textbooks, and supplies in support of Broward students in ProStart Culinary and the Hospitality & Tourism Management Programs. This year, the event was expanded to include college culinary and hospitality students to help promote students joining the growing hospitality industry in Broward County.


“FRLA’s Broward Chapter is honored to protect, educate, and promote our local and statewide hospitality industry,” said Rozeta Mahboubi, FRLA Broward Regional Director. “Thanks to our dedicated Board of Directors, Committee members, and loyal sponsors, we have been able to foster education in hospitality through this wonderful event.  I truly believe our scholarships, mentorship, and internship programs have cultivated many inspiring new talents to step into industry positions with greater confidence. We are so proud of these outstanding award winners!”


Students of the Year

Mariah Almodovar – ProStart / HTMP

Valentina Chavez – ProStart

Lanayah M. Nesmith – ProStart / HTMP


 College Students of the Year

Carla Ottley-Cousin – Broward College, Culinary Management

Mackenzie Chin – Broward College, Hospitality Mgmt. & Tourism

Larius Floyd – Broward Hospitality Mgmt. & Tourism


HTMP Teachers of the Year

Mitchell Albert, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Gerson Puig, Fort Lauderdale High School


ProStart Teachers of the Year

Debra Sparacino, South Broward High School

John Hammett, Miramar High School



Commissioner Beam Furr, Broward County

Robert Bilak, JetBlue Travel Products

Sherria McMillan & Daniel Pagan, Seminole Hard Rock Support Services


About FRLA: The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Founded in 1946 as the Florida Restaurant Association, FRLA merged with the Florida Hotel and Motel Association in 2006. FRLA’s more than 10,000 members include independent hoteliers and restaurateurs, household name franchises, theme parks and suppliers. The association’s mission is to protect, educate and promote Florida’s nearly $112 billion hospitality industry which represents 1.5 million employees. Dedicated to safeguarding the needs of the membership, FRLA provides legislative advocacy to ensure the voices of its members are heard and their interests are protected. The association offers regulatory compliance and food safety training through Safe Staff® and FRLA’s subsidiary, RCS Training. The FRLA Educational Foundation provides industry-developed, career-building high school programs throughout the state.