The Florida Craft Spirits Association Announces Official Launch of the Florida Distillery Trail

Florida distillers to unveil a 39-stop tour across the Sunshine State

Click on the image to view the map


Tampa, Fla. – The Florida Craft Spirits Association, a membership organization consisting of 44 Florida distilleries, is proud to announce the official launch of the Florida Distillery Trail, a 39-stop distillery tour across the Sunshine State.

“We are thrilled to be announcing our distillery trail, which has come to fruition in only our second year as an association,” said David Cohen, president of the Florida Craft Spirits Association. “We are also happy to report that we have had over 100% retention of our members from the previous year, which speaks to the strength of our industry in this state. With the help of Visit Florida, we will make the Florida Distillery Trail one of the best in the country.”

The Florida Distillery Trail consists of 39 distilleries spanning from the panhandle to the southernmost point of the state. Along the trail, visitors will get a chance to experience the rich landscapes, must-see landmarks, and vibrant blends of culture that embody the Sunshine State.

To embark on the trail, explorers can get their free passport booklet at any participating distillery location. Along the trail, tourers will collect stamps in the special booklet at each stop on the route. For every 12 stamps collected, visitors will receive a commemorative gift to mark their achievement.

Commemorative gifts include an association t-shirt, a tasting glass, and a gift basket filled with Florida crafted spirits. The trail can be completed distillery-by-distillery or in regions at a time. For more info, visit

View the Press Release PDF Here.

For media or interview inquiries, please contact:

Toiaya Crawford, Plan A Management

813.203.7616 |


About the Florida Craft Spirits Association

The Florida Craft Spirits Association (FCSA), was established to serve as the voice for the Florida handcrafted distilled spirits industry. The goals of the FCSA are to grow our community, represent our views and interests before policymakers, and promote awareness of our industry across the State of Florida. For more information, visit and via Facebook or Instagram @/floridacraftspirits.



AHLA: Business Travel in Florida for 2022 Expected to Remain Down 11.1%

Statement from Carol Dover:

“Florida remains a top destination for both leisure and business travel, but today’s projections have Florida ending the year 11 percent down for business travel,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA). “We are incredibly proud of Florida’s comeback story, but this report reiterates that there is more work to be done to get us back to pre-pandemic figures. Business and corporate group travel is the leading source of revenue for hotels, which have endured years of catastrophic losses and now face inflation, supply chain issues, and staffing shortages. As businesses become more comfortable with a return to conferences, events, and business travel, we encourage them to come to the Sunshine State. Our hospitality industry is ready to welcome you!”

Click Here for a State-By-State Breakdown

Click Here for a Market-By-Market Breakdown

Contact: Jennifer Myers, 202-289-3148;

WASHINGTON (April 19, 2022) According to a new report released today by the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Kalibri Labs, U.S. hotel business travel revenue is projected to be 23% below pre-pandemic levels in 2022, ending the year down more than $20 billion compared to 2019. This comes after hotels lost an estimated $108 billion in business travel revenue during 2020 and 2021 combined.


While leisure travel is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels this year, business travel—which includes corporate, group, government, and other commercial categories—is the hotel industry’s largest source of revenue and will take significantly longer to recover.


“While dwindling COVID-19 case counts and relaxed CDC guidelines are providing a sense of optimism for reigniting travel, this report underscores how tough it will be for many hotels and hotel employees to recover from years of lost revenue,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “The good news is that after two years of virtual work arrangements, Americans recognize the unmatched value of face-to-face meetings and say they are ready to start getting back on the road for business travel.”


Many urban markets, which rely heavily on business from events and group meetings, have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The 10 markets projected to end 2022 with the largest percentage declines in hotel business travel revenue are:

Hotel Business Travel Revenue By Market
MARKET 2019 Business Travel Revenue 2022 Projected Business Travel Revenue $ Difference

vs. 2019

% Difference

vs. 2019

San Francisco, CA $2,444,134,842  $762,413,756  $(1,681,721,086) -68.8%
New York, NY $4,537,220,914  $2,029,657,062  $(2,507,563,852) -55.3%
Washington, DC Area  $2,753,490,519  $1,255,192,517  $(1,498,298,002) -54.4%
San Jose, CA $1,224,290,715  $589,896,117  $(634,394,598) -51.8%
Chicago, IL $2,487,681,421  $1,275,563,306  $(1,212,118,115) -48.7%
Boston, MA $1,685,026,985  $885,127,929  $(799,899,057) -47.5%
Oakland, CA $481,164,648  $291,214,090  $(189,950,558) -39.5%
Seattle, WA $1,218,389,871  $740,336,834  $(478,053,037) -39.2%
Minneapolis, MN $698,571,668  $431,631,561  $(266,940,107) -38.2%
Philadelphia, PA $895,290,036  $562,414,132  $(332,875,904) -37.2%
Source: Kalibri Labs


The 10 states or districts projected to end 2022 with the largest percentage declines in hotel business travel revenue are:


Hotel Business Travel Revenue By State
STATE 2019 Business Travel Revenue 2022 Projected Business Travel Revenue $ Difference

vs. 2019

% Difference

Vs. 2019

WYOMING $729,219,752  $271,246,842  $(457,972,909) -62.8%
D.C. $1,408,634,295  $565,950,200  $(842,684,095) -59.8%
NEW YORK $6,109,466,111  $3,297,650,355  $(2,811,815,756) -46.0%
MASSACHUSETTS $2,268,831,599  $1,270,376,099  $(998,455,500) -44.0%
ILLINOIS $2,989,485,071  $1,759,959,656  $(1,229,525,415) -41.1%
NEW JERSEY $2,469,459,319  $1,572,145,188  $(897,314,131) -36.3%
CALIFORNIA $13,129,796,983  $8,641,014,692  $(4,488,782,291) -34.2%
MARYLAND $1,273,289,388  $860,666,796  $(412,622,592) -32.4%
MINNESOTA $1,184,299,560  $826,629,793  $(357,669,767) -30.2%
WASHINGTON $1,953,157,713  $1,371,155,430  $(582,002,283) -29.8%
Source: Kalibri Labs


The new report comes on the heels of a recent AHLA survey, which found 64% of employed Americans and 77% of business travelers agree that it is more important than ever to bring back business travel. The survey also found that 80% of employed Americans and 86% of business travelers say face-to-face interactions are important for maximizing company success.


The shifting sentiments around business travel are supported by a recent analysis conducted by the San Diego State University School of Hospitality & Tourism Management on behalf of AHLA that found in-person business travel and meetings have undeniable advantages over virtual options, and that businesses and organizations that resume business travel and meetings more quickly are likely to have a competitive edge over those that do not.


About AHLA

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the U.S. lodging industry. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support and workforce development programs to move the industry forward. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitality was the first industry impacted and it will be among the last to recover. That is why AHLA is committed to promoting safe travel while also creating a standardized safety experience nationwide through the Safe Stay initiative. With an enhanced set of health and safety protocols designed to provide a safe and clean environment for all hotel guests and employees, hotels across America are ready to welcome back travelers when they are ready to travel. Learn more at


FRLA Welcomes Shaquille O’Neal-owned Big Chicken to Florida, FRLA

April 14, 2022 // // PANAMA CITY, Fla. – It’s migration season and Shaquille O’Neal-owned Big Chicken is soaring simultaneously into a pair of U.S. markets that it will soon call home.

The brand has signed an agreement to grow into North Florida and Northwest Arkansas. Big Chicken’s most recent deal, which includes a total of 40 new units between the two markets. Panhandle Restaurant Group (PRG), the well-known Florida-based restaurant franchise operator, has signed the deal with Big Chicken. The team at PRG brings an experienced perspective to Big Chicken as a multi-brand franchisee and as a brand cultivator serving in the franchisor role.

“We are entering the Big Chicken family and can clearly see an upside for us,” said Chris McMillan, co-owner of PRG with his wife Amy. “In the restaurant industry, you have to possess not only passion for the food but for the people as well, and from the moment we sat down with the Big Chicken team it was clear our energy was in alignment. We couldn’t be more excited to bring this brand to Florida and Arkansas!”

From humble beginnings as quick service restaurant employees at age 16, the restaurant industry has been Chris and Amy’s lifelong passion and career. Chris soon became a multi-unit restaurant supervisor and from there teamed up with Amy to own and operate 22 Sonic drive-in locations across multiple regions. The powerhouse restaurant couple then expanded their portfolio to develop and/or operate more than 10 additional brands. Their Big Chicken investment marks one of their biggest restaurant commitments yet.

“We want to do business with people we see as true partners,” said Josh Halpern, CEO of Big Chicken. “From the moment I met Chris, Amy, and the PRG team I knew they saw the world the same way. Big Chicken and PRG will do amazing things together.”

Along with O’Neal, the championship pedigree behind Big Chicken includes a pair of powerful ownership group partners, including:

  • Authentic Brands (ABG), a brand development, marketing and entertainment company, which owns a portfolio of iconic and world-renowned brands including Sports Illustrated, Elvis Presley and Forever 21.
  • JRS Hospitality, Las Vegas’ leading events and catering company with a reputation for hosting top tier parties, private dining and corporate gatherings at its iconic venues such as Cabo Wabo, Hexx, and Beer Park.

“The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is thrilled to welcome Big Chicken and its famed ‘big flavor, big food, and big fun’ to Florida’s Panhandle,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of FRLA. “We look forward to partnering with the Panhandle Restaurant Group and having Big Chicken join FRLA and Florida’s unparalleled hospitality industry.”

Indian River State College Launches Free Promise Program for Culinary and Hospitality Programs

In response to a pandemic that has disrupted lives and derailed plans for so many in our community, Indian River State College today revealed its most significant investment ever in eliminating barriers to higher education. At a special assembly for 12th-grade students at Fort Pierce Central High School, the College launched the IRSC Promise Program—announcing tuition-free Associate degrees for qualifying 2022 high school graduates from public and public charter schools in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties.

“IRSC exists to change the lives of those we are here to serve,” affirms IRSC President Dr. Timothy Moore. “No matter your background, household income, or grade point average, if you are graduating from a public or public charter high school in our service district this spring, you can earn an A.A., A.S. or A.A.S. from IRSC tuition-free. We are not going to let anyone fall through the cracks.”

Sponsored by the IRSC Foundation, the IRSC Promise Program comes at a critical time. One million fewer students are enrolled in higher education today than two years ago. Consumer prices are up 7.5 percent over last January and rising. For many students and families, the cost of college can feel out of reach.

“The cost of tuition should never prevent anyone from pursuing their personal and academic goals,” shares Michael Hageloh, Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement. “The IRSC Promise program, backed by the strength of the IRSC Foundation and led by the vision of the College’s District Board of Trustees, will help countless individuals stay the course and earn the education they require to build the futures they deserve. It is the ultimate investment in our community.”

Seventy-six percent (76%) of IRSC students stay in the local community after graduation, contributing to the local economy as workforce members and as consumers.

The IRSC Promise Program aims to make college education broadly accessible. Students do not need to demonstrate financial need, and there is no GPA requirement for acceptance to the program. Once in the program, students must maintain full-time enrollment status during fall, spring and summer terms,  and maintain satisfactory academic progress as they pursue an Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, or Applied Associate in Science Degree.

To take advantage of the program, eligible high school seniors must commit to IRSC by taking the Promise Pledge, available at, by May 15.

For more program details and a list of upcoming information sessions, visit or email

Emergency Physicians Warn of the Dangers of Unsafe Alcohol Consumption

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — During Alcohol Awareness Month, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) urges everyone to recognize the signs that being overly intoxicated has become a medical emergency and to avoid consuming unsafe amounts of alcohol.

“Any celebration can quickly turn into a nightmare when unsafe levels of alcohol are involved,” said Gillian Schmitz, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP. “The best way to prevent a trip to the emergency department is to plan ahead, make responsible choices and know your limits.”

Alcohol is one of the top causes of preventable deaths and more than 17.6 million people (one in 12 adults) suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence, according to the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence. In the United States, an average of 261 people die from excessive drinking every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Emergency physicians offer these tips to stay safe when there is alcohol involved:

Plan ahead by making transportation arrangements or choosing a designated driver. Charge cell phones before a celebration starts and be sure to communicate plans to friends or loved ones so that more than one person knows the whereabouts of people who may be having drinks.

Do not consume drinks on an empty stomach and pace yourself throughout your evening. Consider alternating one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage. If champagne is part of the celebration, be mindful to point the cork away from others when opening the bottle. Do not leave a drink unattended.

A high level of alcohol consumption can lead to overdose or poisoning. Intoxication has turned into poisoning when there are signs of:

  • Vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Blue skin
  • Choking
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slurred speech or extreme confusion

If somebody has been drinking and shows signs of alcohol poisoning, it is time to go to the nearest emergency department. If the person cannot breathe, has a seizure or cannot be woken up, call 911 and request an ambulance. Alcohol hinders thinking, seeing, the ability to pay attention, reflexes and reaction times. Do not drink and drive.

There is no safe amount of alcohol that can be consumed before driving. Everyone handles alcohol differently and it is possible to become impaired after just one drink.

“Most alcohol-related emergencies are preventable, and many are heartbreaking,” said Dr. Schmitz. “Avoid a tragedy by choosing to drink responsibly and in moderation, if at all.”

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing education, research, public education, and advocacy, ACEP advances emergency care on behalf of its 40,000 emergency physician members, and the more than 150 million Americans they treat on an annual basis. For more information, visit and

SOURCE American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)

CONTACT: Steve Arnoff | | Twitter @EmergencyDocs


Restaurants to Congress: Economic Conditions Threaten Nearly 20% of Restaurants and We Can’t Go It Alone

National Restaurant Association pushes for Congress to pass Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment this week

Washington, D.C. (April 4, 2022) – The National Restaurant Association today sent a letter to Congressional leadership encouraging passage of Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) Replenishment if the program comes up for a vote this week.


According to the letter, while the rest of the economy continues to quickly add jobs, restaurant industry job growth in the first quarter of 2022 was the smallest since 2020. On the business side, real sales at restaurants in January were lower than volumes posted in each of the 10 months leading up to the pandemic.


“With the looming threat of another variant and growing challenges of inflation for both operators and consumers, the economic boost RRF could provide for those 177,000 restaurants would reach far into our communities,” said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “This should be the driving factor in bipartisan support for replenishing the RRF. These restaurants fighting for survival cannot go it alone any longer and should not be treated as a spot in the rear-view mirror of Congress.”


For the 177,000 restaurants that are still awaiting RRF support — which represents nearly 20% of the restaurant industry — these challenges are compounded by more than six months of competitive disadvantages these restaurants face compared with those that received an RRF grant. An Association survey of restaurant operators found that 96% of RRF recipients said the grant made it more likely that they would be able to stay in business; 92% said the grant helped them pay expenses or debt that had accumulated since the beginning of the pandemic.

In addition, the survey found:

  • Nearly 50% of restaurant operators that did not receive RRF grants feel it’s unlikely that they will stay in business beyond the pandemic without a grant.
  • 94% of restaurant operators that applied for an RRF grant, but did not receive funding, said a future grant would enable them to retain or hire back employees.

Read the full letter to Congressional leaders here and find more data about the impact the original round of RRF funding had on the industry here.

DHS and DOL to Supplement the H-2B Cap with Additional Visas for Second Half of Fiscal Year 2022

Departments to add additional visas and significant worker protections 

WASHINGTON —The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) today announced the forthcoming publication of a joint temporary final rule to make available an additional 35,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for the second half of fiscal year (FY) 2022. These visas will be set aside for U.S. employers seeking to employ additional workers on or after April 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2022.

“Informed by current demand in the labor market, today we are announcing the availability of an additional 35,000 H-2B visas that will help to support American businesses and expand legal pathways for workers seeking to come to the United States,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Recognizing the importance of strong worker protections, we will apply greater scrutiny to those employers who have a record of violating obligations to their workers and the H-2B program.”

The supplemental H-2B visa allocation consists of 23,500 visas available to returning workers, who received an H-2B visa or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during one of the last three fiscal years. The remaining 11,500 visas, which are exempt from the returning worker requirement, are reserved for nationals of Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

The H-2B program permits employers to temporarily hire noncitizens to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the United States. The employment must be for a limited period of time, such as a one-time occurrence, seasonal, or intermittent need. Employers seeking to hire H-2B workers must take a series of steps to test the U.S. labor market. They must provide certification from the Department of Labor that proves there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work for which they seek a prospective foreign worker, and that employing the H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

In January 2022, the Departments announced the availability of 20,000 additional H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for the first half of fiscal year (FY) 2022. Additional details about how the supplemental allocation will be implemented, including the worker protections, will be provided in the forthcoming temporary final rule.

More than $1 Million in Scholarships Offered for Florida High School Students in Annual Hospitality Competitions

ORLANDO – From March 2-6 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel, more than 300 Florida high school students from 45 schools competed in the statewide annual Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Educational Foundation (FRLAEF) Hospitality & Tourism Management Program (HTMP) and ProStart Culinary Competition Events. This year marked the 21st year for the ProStart competition and the 18th year for the HTMP event; Florida is the only state to host a statewide competition for the HTMP program.


Throughout the weekend, ProStart students competed in categories including Culinary, Management, Edible Centerpiece, and Waiter’s Relay. At the the Salute to Excellence Award ceremony, students were awarded for their respective competition categories. They also received scholarships from the FRLAEF and event sponsors, including the World Equestrian Center, National Restaurant Association Education Foundation, Keiser University Center for Culinary Arts, University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management, American Culinary Federation, Ecolab, and Disney Culinary. Winners will advance to the national ProStart Invitational in Washington, D.C., which is hosted by the National Restaurant Association in May. HTMP students competed in categories including Hotel Operations, Hospitality Project, and the Knowledge Bowl and were also awarded scholarships from the FRLA Educational Foundation.

“Despite not having these competitions last year due to COVID, this year’s junior and senior year students rose to the challenge, especially given the fact none had competed before,” said Laura Rumer, Director of the FRLA Educational Foundation. “Both the HTMP and ProStart competitions featured opportunities for our students to demonstrate their talents for both the hotel and restaurant sides of the hospitality industry. It is such a thrill to watch them in action, and we cannot wait to do it again next year!”

“We are so proud of these talented high school students who show incredible promise for a future in the best industry in Florida – hospitality,” said Carol Dover, President & CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA). “While we have always encouraged participation in the HTMP and ProStart programs, now more than ever, it is critical that we support and invest in our youth who will be the future of this great industry. Congratulations to these outstanding young men and women and to their instructors who devote so much time to their training.”



Overall Winners

1st  Place         Strawberry Crest High School – Dover, FL
2nd Place         Wekiva High School – Apopka, FL
3rd  Place         JP Taravella High School – Coral Springs, FL
4th Place          Steinbrenner High School – Lutz, FL
5th Place          Hialeah High School – Hialeah, FL

Keiser University Culinary Competition

1st Place          Strawberry Crest High School (Dover): Madison Jones, Jenna Mayo, Julian Alvarado, Eryhka Allbritton, Abigail Hemphill; Instructor Paul Bonanno

2nd Place         Martin County High School (Stuart): Lily Tax, Paige Williams, Sophia Poirier, Georgia Poirier, Dominic Padovano; Instructor Shaun Southwick

3rd Place          JP Taravella High School (Coral Springs): Lexi Gonzalez, Jordan Edwy, Gabriela Franco, Eric Lin; Instructor Scott Goodman

4th Place          John A. Ferguson High School (Miami): Julio Gonzalez, Kayla Mejia, Andres Ramirez, Briana Font, Piero Callirgos; Instructors Janett Toledo, Jorge Garcia, Jebel Cordoba

5th Place          Bethlehem High School (Bonifay): Avery Acreman, Zoie Miller, Jacob Tate, Jasmine Staggs, Journey Simpson; Instructor Chelsea Herndon

Rosen College at UCF Management Competition

1st Place            Hialeah High School (Hialeah): Vanessa Martinez, Maylet Perez, Jaden Sandoval, Kiana Yee; Instructor Kathy Gonzalez

2nd Place           Strawberry Crest High School (Dover): Emily Hobbs, Katie Benson, Hayden Hott, Caitlyn Allman, Emma Langston; Instructor Paul Bonanno

3rd Place           JP Taravella High School (Coral Springs): Makayla Boudreau, Brian Huang; Instructor Scott Goodman

4th Place           John A. Ferguson High School (Miami): Teresa Kinard, Genesis Romero, Kayla  Quintero; Instructors Janett Toledo, Jorge Garcia, Jebel Cordoba

5th Place           Wekiva High School (Apopka): Kaamla Bernard, Jonah Thompson, Emily Esposito; Instructor Christopher Bates

World Equestrian Center Edible Centerpiece Competition

1st Place            Isabel Nunez, Bayside High School (Palm Bay)
2nd Place           Judah Meyers, Wekiva High School (Apopka)
3rd Place           Payton Miller, Steinbrenner High School (Lutz)
4th Place           Emilee Hill, Sandalwood High School (Jacksonville)
5th Place           Valerie Barcenas, Stoneman Douglas High School (Parkland)


Waiter’s Relay Competition

1st Place            Wekiva High School (Apopka, FL): Danny Ha, Josean Vargas, Derrick Ramjit; Instructor Christopher Bates

2nd Place           Steinbrenner High School (Lutz, FL): Miranda Drake, Isabella Goldstein, Sophie Lopez; Instructor Cheryl White

3rd Place          St. Lucie West Centennial High School (Port St. Lucie): Joshua Curtis, Justin Meyer, Rodolpho Segura; Instructor Calvin Lewis

4th Place           Northeast High School (St. Petersburg): Khalid Jackson, Jacob Williams, Curtis Johnson; Instructor Curtis Serata

5th Place          Durant High School (Plant City): Audrey Nelson, Kate Hodnett, Gabrielle Eaton; Instructor Guy Hermis

ProStart is a nationwide high school career program educating nearly 150,000 Florida students in culinary arts and restaurant management skills. ProStart’s industry-driven curriculum provides real-world educational opportunities and sets a high standard of excellence for the industry’s next generation of leaders. Yearly, students compete on state and nation-wide levels to showcase skills learnt in their classroom kitchens.



Overall Winners

1st  Place         Robert Morgan Educational Center (Miami)

2nd Place         Forest Hill High School (West Palm Beach)

3rd  Place         Cooper City High School (Cooper City)

Hotel Operations Competition

 1st Place          Cooper City High School (Cooper City): Ashley Parrish, Adriana Correa, Mia Fraino; Instructor Vicky Gambino Edgcomb

2nd Place         Robert Morgan Educational Center (Miami): Sophia Thach, Julie Erreguin, Niyah Reese, Giselle Abreu-Arcady; Instructor Alina Hughes

3rd Place          Windermere High School (Windermere): Eugenia Marcano, Kayla West, Keegan McBride, Marie Delgado Gomez; Instructor Heather Kelly

Hospitality Project Competition

1st Place          Forest Hill High School (West Palm Beach): Lisbeth Alonso, Juliana Angulo, Jordan Chavez, Anthony Salazar; Instructor Diana Sardina

2nd Place         Robert Morgan Educational Center (Miami): Sophia Thach, Julie Erreguin, Niyah Reese, Giselle Abreu-Arcady; Instructor Alina Hughes

3rd Place          Cooper City High School (Cooper City): Ashley Parrish, Adriana Correa, Mia Fraino; Instructor Vicky Gambino Edgcomb

Knowledge Bowl Competition

1st Place          Stoneman Douglas High School (Parkland): Morgan Fink, Alexis Presno, Geetanjali Srivastava, Samantha Ofstein; Instructor Mitchell Albert

2nd Place         Oak Ridge High School (Orlando): Dahlia Wallace, Adrian Borges, Liliana Valdes, Yandiel Martinez; Instructor Vanessa Zameza

3rd Place          Forest Hill High School (West Palm Beach): Lisbeth Alonso, Juliana Angulo, Jordan Chavez, Anthony Salazar; Instructor Diana Sardina


The Hospitality & Tourism Management Program (HTMP) is a nationwide high school curriculum that introduces over 2,000 students annually to the hospitality and tourism industry. HTMP presents the industry on a global scale with a large focus on diversity. Most importantly, this curriculum is industry driven as evidenced by the fact that more than 60 industry leaders served as subject matter experts, ensuring that today’s program matches the needs of hospitality employers across the world. Each year, Florida’s HTMP students compete at the state level to showcase their skills they have learned in the classroom.

**For more information about ProStart, HTMP, or FRLA’s Educational Foundation, visit our webpage or contact Director Laura Rumer at


About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association

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 $111.7 billion hospitality industry which represents 1.5 million employees. Dedicated to safeguarding the needs of its 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 SafeStaff® and FRLA’s subsidiary, RCS Training. The FRLA Educational Foundation provides industry-developed, career-building high school programs throughout the state.








FRLA Statement on VISIT FLORIDA Reauthorization

VISIT FLORIDA Reauthorization Passage

Statement of Carol Dover, President and CEO, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA)

“On behalf of Florida’s hospitality industry, I want to thank Senator Ed Hooper and Representative Linda Chaney for sponsoring SB 434 to reauthorize VISIT FLORIDA until 2028, as well as our Governor and Legislative leadership for their efforts to achieve its successful passage. We are so thankful to have such great advocates for Florida’s hospitality and tourism industry.

In Florida we are doing more than recovering from COVID-19; we are setting visitation new records and beating pre-pandemic numbers. However, hotels, restaurants, and attractions are facing rising costs due to inflation, supply chain shortages, rising fuel costs, and an historic labor crisis.

It’s critical that we continue to promote tourism to and within our great state through VISIT FLORIDA, FRLA, and our destination marketing partners to ensure a strong hospitality industry.  We look forward to continuing our great partnerships to welcome even more visitors to the Sunshine State and expect many great successes ahead!”

SBA Deadline is Approaching for Florida Businesses Affected by the 2021 Surfside Building Collapse to Apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans


Release Number: 22-189, FL 17006

ATLANTA – The U.S. Small Business Administration is reminding businesses in Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier and Monroe counties in Florida that March 29 is the applications deadline for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and private nonprofit organizations affected by the Surfside Building Collapse on June 24, 2021.

“Businesses that suffered economic losses as a result of the disaster and want to apply for low-interest loans from the SBA are urged to do so before the March 29 deadline,” said Kem Fleming, director of SBA Field Operations Center East.

Working capital loans up to $2 million are available at 2.88 percent for small businesses and 2 percent for private nonprofit organizations, with terms up to 30 years. The loans are intended to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. To be considered for this assistance, eligible entities need to apply by the deadline.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at and should apply under SBA declaration # 17006, not for the COVID-19 incident.

Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services), or emailing Loan applications may be downloaded at Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The deadline to return economic injury loan applications is March 29, 2022.


About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.

To learn more, visit