Secretary Dane Eagle Announces Florida Employers Add Jobs for 25th Consecutive Month

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Secretary Dane Eagle announced that Florida’s May 2022 employment data demonstrates the strength of Florida’s economy. Florida employers added jobs for the 25th consecutive month in May. Florida’s unemployment rate has remained below the national rate for 18 consecutive months and has declined or held steady for 22 consecutive months. The over-the-year labor force growth rate in May was 3.0 percent (+313,000) exceeding the national growth rate of 2.2 percent and Florida’s labor force grew by 0.5 percent (+49,000) over the month, also outpacing the national over-the-month growth rate of 0.2 percent. Florida’s over-the-year private sector job growth rate has exceeded the nation’s for 14 consecutive months indicating strong, sustainable growth for Floridians.

“Our state’s continued success is a testament to Governor DeSantis’ efforts to create a brighter future for Floridians,” said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle. “DEO is committed to supporting the Governor’s initiatives and bringing the state’s economic vision to life.”

Florida’s over-the-year private sector growth rate was 5.9 percent in May and Florida’s unemployment rate decreased by 1.9 percentage points over the year to 3.0 percent, and continues to remain below the national rate, which is currently 3.6 percent.

The state’s total private sector employment increased by 459,500 (+5.9 percent) over the year in May 2022, 0.8 percentage point faster than the national growth rate of 5.1 percent. Florida’s over-the-year private sector job growth has also exceeded the nation’s for 14 consecutive months since April 2021.

Data in the month of May continues to indicate that there are many job opportunities available for Floridians throughout the state, with more than 499,000 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.

Florida Economic Indicators for May 2022 include:

 ·    Unemployment rate has remained steady at 3.0 percent, and 0.6 percentage point lower than the national rate.

·    Florida’s statewide unemployment rate has been lower than the national rate for 18 consecutive months since December 2020.

·    Florida’s statewide unemployment rate has declined or held steady for 22 consecutive months.

·    Between May 2021 and May 2022, Florida’s labor force grew by 313,000, or 3.0 percent, faster than the national labor force growth rate of 2.2 percent over the year.

·    Between May 2021 and May 2022, total private sector employment grew by 459,500 jobs (5.9%), faster than the national private sector job growth rate of 5.1 percent over the year.

·    As of May 2022, Florida employers have added jobs for 25 consecutive months since May 2020. Florida’s private sector over-the-year job growth rate has exceeded the nation’s for 14 consecutive months since April 2021.

·    Private sector industries gaining the most jobs over the month were:

·    Professional and Business Services with 8,600 new jobs.

·    Manufacturing with 4,300 new jobs.

·    Leisure and Hospitality with 2,300 new jobs.

·    Trade, Transportation, and Utilities with 1,800 new jobs

 

To view the May 2022 jobs reports by region, please see below:

Fort Lauderdale

Jacksonville

Miami

Orlando

Pensacola

Southwest Florida

Tampa

West Palm Beach

 

To view the May 2022 employment data, visit: www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/labor-market-information-press-releases/monthly-press-releases.

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.

Two Florida High Schools Win $10,000 from Rachael Ray ProStart Grow Grant to Nurture Their Culinary and Restaurant Management Education Programs

TALLAHASSEE –   The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) has announced that two Florida schools – Umatilla High School in Umatilla and St. Lucie West (SLW) Centennial High School in Port St. Lucie – are two of only 38 high schools from across the country selected to each receive a $5,000 grant to support their ProStart culinary and restaurant management programs through the Rachael Ray Foundation ProStart Grow Grant program.

“Florida is proud to have built the largest ProStart program in the nation,” said Carol Dover, President & CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA). “With more than 30,000 students, we continue to invest them as they develop their talent and future in Florida’s vibrant restaurant and foodservice sector. These students are the future of our hospitality industry, and we applaud the Rachael Ray Foundation for contributing to their growth and success through this funding.”

Earlier this year, the Rachael Ray Foundation contributed $225,000 to the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in support of ProStart Grow Grants. Schools with existing ProStart programs, or those looking to become part of the ProStart program, were invited to apply, with winning schools demonstrating how the ProStart program positively impacts, or could impact, their students and the community.

“We greatly appreciate the support of the Rachael Ray Grow Grant to provide much-needed funds for two of our Florida ProStart schools,” said Laura Rumer, Director of the FRLA Educational Foundation. “The grants will help the instructors to improve their facilities, which allows the students to be more comfortable on the equipment they will see in an industry kitchen as they prepare for future careers.”

To-date, the Rachael Ray Foundation ProStart Grow Grant Program has provided $590,000 to schools demonstrating a strong need to engage and educate high school students interested in exploring restaurant and foodservice careers. Learn more about all of the 2022 Rachael Ray ProStart Grow Grant winners here.

“ProStart programs, and the educators who support them, provide high school students across the country with skills they need to be successful throughout life,” said Rachael Ray, award-winning television personality and philanthropist. “We [The Rachael Ray Foundation] are proud to support the dreams, passion and hard work that these Grow Grant recipients display in their classrooms and schools as they cultivate the next generation of restaurant and foodservice professionals.”

A program of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, ProStart is a two-year technical education program found at more than 1,750 high schools and career and technical educational centers nationwide, teaching culinary techniques and restaurant management skills that build a lifetime foundation and support future careers in the restaurant industry. With 145,000 students enrolled across all states, the District of Columbia and Guam, the program teaches students through a combination of classroom and industry instruction.  Find out more about ProStart at ChooseRestaurants.org/ProStart.

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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.

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF): As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) mission of service to the public is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to Attract, Empower and Advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and the Restaurant & Hospitality Leadership Center (RHLC) – accredited apprenticeship programs designed to build the careers of service professionals. For more information on the NRAEF, visit ChooseRestaurants.org.

About The Rachael Ray Foundation: The Rachael Ray Foundation™ (RRF) is a private foundation that is fully funded by the proceeds from the sale of Rachael Ray™ Nutrish®. RRF was launched by Rachael in 2016 to better support the causes she cares for most such as helping animals in need. Additionally, RRF works with organizations that support the mission of Yum-o!, Rachael’s 501c3, in order to bolster and amplify their efforts through additional funding. Yum-o! empowers kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking. It also teaches families to cook, feeds hungry kids, and funds cooking education, among other initiatives.

Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Members Receive Michelin Guide Recognition

TALLAHASSEE – At the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes last night, twenty-seven Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) Members were recognized by the esteemed Michelin Guide, winning stars and other high achievement recognitions like Bib Gourmand and Recommended Plate.

 “Florida is so proud to receive Michelin recognition among such exclusive company as only the fifth location in the United States with Michelin-awarded restaurants,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “Our guests come from across the state, country, and globe to experience Florida’s world-class dining options. Not only is the Michelin recognition well deserved, but it will bring even more people to our state, to our hotels, and to our restaurants, strengthening our communities and the overall health of our hospitality industry. Congratulations to our many FRLA member winners and to all who were recognized!”

The following FRLA members received recognition from the Michelin Guide:

ONE-STAR FRLA WINNERS

Stubborn Seed, Miami

The Surf Club Restaurant, Miami

Knife & Spoon, Orlando

Capa, Orlando

BIB GOURMAND FRLA WINNERS

Ghee Indian Kitchen, Miami

Michael’s Genuine, Miami

Ravenous Pig, Orlando

Red Rooster Overtown, Miami

MICHELIN-RECOMMENDED FRLA WINNERS

Latin Café, Miami

Versailles, Miami

Hakkasan Miami

Luca Osteria, Miami

Café La Trova, Miami

Cítricos, Orlando

California Grill, Orlando

Ravello, Orlando

Se7en Bites, Orlando

The Pinery, Orlando

Primo, Orlando

Maxine’s on Shine, Orlando

Four Flamingos, Orlando

Sear + Sea, Orlando

Bern’s Steakhouse, Tampa

Olivia, Tampa

Mise en Place, Tampa

Ulele, Tampa

Columbia, Tampa

For the full list of Florida-recognized Michelin restaurants, please visit the FRLA Blog piece here.

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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.

DHS and DOL Announce Availability of Additional H-2B Visas for Second Half of Fiscal Year

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) announced this week the availability of an additional 35,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas during the second half of fiscal year (FY) 2022. These visas are for U.S. employers seeking to employ additional workers on or after April 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2022.

“These additional H-2B visas will help employers meet the demand for seasonal workers at this most critical time, when there is a serious labor shortage,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “The visas are accompanied by significant worker protections and provide a safe and lawful pathway for individuals to come to the United States and earn wages in jobs that are not filled by American workers.”

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 are reserved for nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Haiti, regardless of whether they are returning workers. The semiannual cap of 33,000 visas for the second half of FY 2022 was reached on February 25, 2022.

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, or 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 DOL 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.

DHS will subject employers that have committed certain labor law violations in the H-2B program to additional scrutiny in the supplemental cap petition process. This additional scrutiny is aimed at ensuring compliance with H-2B program requirements and obligations.

The joint temporary final rule can be found on the Federal Register website. Employers can begin petitioning on Wednesday, May 18.

Florida Tourism Continues to Grow in Q1 2022

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Florida welcomed 36 million total visitors between January and March 2022 according to VISIT FLORIDA estimates. This is a 14 percent increase from Q4 2021, and the third consecutive quarter that overall visitation has surpassed pre-pandemic levels. Approximately 34.1 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in Q1 2022, representing twelve solid months of domestic visitation growth from 2019, with no signs of slowing.

“Florida’s latest visitation estimates are incredible news for our economy and all Floridians,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Economists originally projected that Florida tourism wouldn’t fully recover until 2024, but quarter after quarter, despite the Biden administration’s utter failure to manage inflation and the nation’s supply chain woes, Florida’s visitation numbers continue to break records and defy conventional wisdom. Florida’s tourism industry begins 2022 with incredible strength, proving that freedom first policies will always win, especially when combatting the inept economic policies coming out of D.C.”

“Our Q1 visitation estimates show that 2022 is shaping up to be another amazing year for Florida tourism,” said Dana Young, VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO. “In addition to breaking more pre-pandemic records domestically, we are seeing an exponential rebound in Orlando as well as our international numbers, which we expect to continue in the months ahead. VISIT FLORIDA is incredibly proud of its marketing efforts that have gotten us here today, and we thank Governor DeSantis for his unwavering support of our organization and tourism industry.”

Additional highlights from VISIT FLORIDA’s latest visitation estimates include:

  • Florida welcomed 1.3 million overseas travelers in Q1 2022, an increase of nearly 169 percent from Q1 2021.
  • Overseas visitation to Florida in Q1 2022 was 14 percentage points closer to full recovery than the rest of the United States.
  • Canadian visitation to Florida during Q1 2022 accounted for 578,000 visitors, an increase of more than 955 percent from Q1 2021.
  • Over 39 percent of visitors traveled to Florida by plane in Q1 2022, marking the highest share for air travel since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.
  • Total enplanements in Florida were up over 70 percent in the first quarter of 2022.
  • Quarterly hotel demand in Florida exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time in Q1 2022. Compared to the same period in 2021, the number of hotel rooms sold grew by 31.4 percent during the first three months of the year. Florida’s average daily rate (ADR) was up over 38 percent, and its occupancy rate increased by nearly 24 percent.

Florida tourism’s sustained record-breaking growth further demonstrates our state’s enduring popularity and leadership in the recovery of the U.S. travel sector. For nearly two years, VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing has drawn travelers from far and wide, rebuilding our No.1 industry to new heights, and gaining a tremendous advantage over our competition. With Governor DeSantis’ leadership, Florida has transcended the challenges of the pandemic to serve as a role model for tourism and hospitality, and a top global travel destination both in 2022 and beyond.

 

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Two Florida High School Teams to Compete for Top Honors at National Culinary & Restaurant Business Competition in Washington, D.C.

 ~Students to contend for almost $200,000 in scholarships at the National ProStart Invitational~

TALLAHASSEE – Following their recent first-place finishes at the statewide Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Educational Foundation (FRLAEF) and ProStart Culinary Competition Event, two Florida high school teams will compete this weekend at the premier national high school culinary arts and restaurant management competition in Washington, D.C.

From May 6-8 at the National ProStart Invitational at the Washington Hilton, the competitors will join over 80 teams from across the country to vie for top high school culinary and restaurant management honors, as well as almost $200,000 in scholarships to support their future aspirations in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

This year’s Florida Culinary Team competitors are from Strawberry Crest High School in Dover and include students Madison Jones, Abigail Hemphill, Eryhka Allbritton, Jenna Mayo, and Julian Alvarado. Their instructor is Paul Bonanno. Representing Florida for the Management Team are students from Hialeah High School, including Maylet Perez, Kiana Yee, Jaden Sandoval, and Vanessa Martinez, along with instructor Kathy Gonzalez.

The three-day event will feature an opening ceremony, two days of powerful culinary and restaurant management competition, and an awards dinner. The top five teams from the culinary and management competitions will earn coveted scholarships to continue their restaurant or foodservice education.

“On behalf of FRLA and Florida’s entire hospitality industry, we are incredibly proud of these two outstanding teams from Strawberry Crest High School and Hialeah High School for their achievements and well-deserved recognition,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “With more than 30,000 students enrolled, Florida’s ProStart program is the largest in the nation. These skilled students are a testament to the fact that Florida has the best of the best when it comes to our ProStart students who show such incredible promise for a future in the hospitality industry. We will be cheering them on as they compete in this week’s national competition and know they will represent us well!”

“I am excited to see the country’s top ProStart students once again bring their talent and skills to the National ProStart Invitational in 2022. Their passion and commitment will be on full display in our nation’s capital as they vie for top honors and scholarship funds to support their career goals,” said Rob Gifford, President of the NRAEF. “These students are truly the culinary and restaurant management talent of the future, and I can’t wait to see all that they achieve in May and beyond.”

A program of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), ProStart® is a two-year technical education program found at more than 1,750 high schools and career and technical educational centers nationwide, teaching culinary techniques and restaurant management skills that build a lifetime foundation and support future careers in the restaurant industry. With 145,000 students enrolled across all all states, the District of Columbia and Guam, the program teaches students through a combination of classroom and industry instruction.

 

Additional Event/Program Background

In addition to a weekend of intense contests among the nation’s top culinary students, NPSI will also announce the 2022 recipients of the ProStart Educator of Excellence Awards (EEA), which recognize exceptional ProStart educators in their classrooms. Sponsored by the Golden Corral Corporation, this year’s EEA winners will be announced, along with three honorees in the categories of Classroom Expertise, Best Practice and Knowledge Sharing, and Industry Connections. Each category winner will receive $3,500 for their achievement. The NRAEF will also reveal the recipient of the James H. Maynard Teacher of the Year Award, recognizing one EEA winner for their tireless dedication to providing remarkable experiences to their ProStart students. This annual honoree receives a gift of $10,000.

NPSI kicks off on Friday, May 6, with an opening ceremony at the Washington Hilton, followed by an exclusive performance of “GRACE” at historic Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. Two days of intense culinary and management competitions begin Saturday, May 7, and continue through Sunday, May 8. The weekend’s festivities will conclude with an awards dinner on the evening of May 8, where the top five teams in the country in both the culinary and restaurant management competitions will be announced and nearly $200,000 of scholarship funds will be awarded. NPSI is made possible by many generous sponsors, including The Coca-Cola Company, Ecolab, Nestlé Professional and Golden Corral.

Click here to learn more about the 2022 National ProStart Invitational.

 

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About ProStart®

ProStart®, a nationwide, two-year high school career and technical education program uniting the classroom and restaurant industry, reaches nearly 145,000 students in more than 1,750 high schools throughout all states, the District of Columbia and Guam. ProStart gives students a platform to discover and develop new interests and talents, while teaching employability skills like teamwork, professional behavior, time management and communication.

 

About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and Florida ProStart

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 1.6 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.

 

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF)

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s mission of service to the public is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to Attract, Empower and Advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and The Restaurant & Hospitality Leadership Center (RHLC) – accredited apprenticeship programs designed to build the careers of service professionals. For more information on the NRAEF, visit ChooseRestaurants.org.

AAHOA Names New President and CEO: Laura Lee Blake

From Lodging Magazine:

ATLANTA, Ga. — Following a vote by the AAHOA Board of Directors, Laura Lee Blake, Esq., will be the new president and CEO of AAHOA, the nation’s largest hotel owners association, effective May 16, 2022. Blake will succeed Ken Greene, who served in the role for a short time in 2021 and part of 2022. Blake has been an attorney for more than 25 years and most recently was a partner with Connor, Fletcher, and Hedenkamp LLP in Irvine, California. She brings decades of experience in the fields of law, government, business, and academia to AAHOA.

Blake isn’t a newcomer to the organization—she previously worked for AAHOA for nearly 10 years, from 2005 to 2014, and says it was one of the highlights of her career. “I was frequently inspired by the work ethic and business acumen of AAHOA members, and I was surrounded by numerous dedicated Board members, executive staff, and team members—many of whom are still my friends today,” incoming President and CEO Laura Lee Blake said. “AAHOA members embody the American dream. They exhibit how success is possible with hard work and an opportunity to grow and expand their businesses under our free enterprise system. There is simply no place like AAHOA to make a real difference for our members, hotel owners, and the industry at large.”

During her time with AAHOA, Blake advocated on members’ behalf, worked with officials at the Federal, State, and local levels to pass laws and regulations that would protect the interests of hoteliers and small business owners, promoted fair franchising, hosted franchise law educational sessions, spoke to members about their legal rights, and more.

“Of course, I was never alone in these endeavors, since there were countless Board members, the AAHOA president and executive team, and committed volunteers who supported the work,” Blake said, “But in the end, we achieved significant things, and it was a fantastic 10 years working with AAHOA.”

As the incoming president and CEO of AAHOA, Blake has the vision to continue to build on the strength and unity of AAHOA members. “With the resurgence of interest in AAHOA’s 12 Points of Fair Franchising and the future of franchising in general, this is a perfect opportunity to return to AAHOA and open the dialogue with the leading franchisors for the benefit of our members, the brands, and all of the franchise systems,” Blake said. “It’s a great time to follow the lead of our members in building and expanding on the influence of this great association to have a lasting impact for years to come.”

Blake adds that coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, reconfiguring the operational structure of AAHOA to ensure efficiency and maximum impact will be critical. “As I step into this new role, my immediate task will be to help lead AAHOA as it relaunches its operational mission and moves forward to achieve its goals, with guidance and strategic direction from the AAHOA Board of Directors,” explained Blake. “From rebuilding the AAHOA team and refocusing our tactical priorities to preparing for an incredible Regional season and continuing AAHOA’s efforts around fair franchising, I’m ready to hit the ground running and can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.”

Over the years as an attorney, Blake often formed strong, lasting relationships with her clients because she believed in their causes and wanted to do her best to bring them successful results. Representatives from the AAHOA Board of Directors say they are confident Blake will take this same approach and apply it to the AAHOA members as she steps into her new role.

“We are so excited to have Laura Lee back as part of the AAHOA family,” said AAHOA Chairman Neal Patel. “Whether it’s evaluating the franchisor-franchisee relationship to determine how best to improve the ROI so it’s more enticing for our members, to promoting fair franchising that will benefit both sides, or hosting franchise law educational sessions, her in-depth knowledge, experience, and advocacy work are just what this organization needs to take our franchising advocacy efforts to the next level. Plus, she will be assisting with prioritizing strategies for legislative advocacy and building alliances with those who understand and support the travel industry. This is a critical time for AAHOA, and Laura Lee will play a key role in getting the job done.”

“I’m excited to be AAHOA’s next president and CEO, grateful for the Board’s support and faith in me, and deeply committed to serving this great organization,” Blake said. “With its more than 20,000 members who own 60 percent of all hotels in the U.S., I am truly honored to have a role in strengthening the position of AAHOA to serve as the one and only voice and foremost advocate for America’s hotel owners.”

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 floridacraftspirits.org.

View the Press Release PDF Here.

For media or interview inquiries, please contact:

Toiaya Crawford, Plan A Management

813.203.7616 | toiaya@planamgmt.com

 

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 floridacraftspirits.org and via Facebook or Instagram @/floridacraftspirits.

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REPORT: HOTELS PROJECTED TO END 2022 DOWN $20 BILLION IN BUSINESS TRAVEL REVENUE, NEARLY 25% BELOW PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS

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; jmyers@ahla.com

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 www.ahla.com.

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

April 14, 2022 // Franchising.com // 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.”