Tourism leaders urge business travelers, convention planners to start booking in Central Florida

Cecilia Nysing

Tourism leaders urge business travelers, convention planners to start booking in Central Florida



STEWART: TOURISM LEADERS ARE PLEADING FOR A RETURN TO TRAVEL FOR BUSINESS AND CONVENTIONS. MICHELLE: WHILE LEISURE TRAVEL IS BOUNCING BACK, GROUP TRAVEL IS LAGGING. AS WESH 2’S AMANDA DUKES REPORTS, SOME ARE SOUNDING A WARNING ABOUT THE POSSIBLE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE LOCAL ECONY.OM AMANDA: BEFORE THE PANDEMIC, BALLROOMS LIKE THESE HERE AT THE HYATT REGENCY WOULD BE FILLED WITH MEETINGS AND TRADE SHOWS, BUT GROUP TRAVEL TO ORLANDO IS DOWN ABOUT 67% RIGHT NOW, DAN TODAY LOCAL LEADERS SODEUND A WARNING ABOUT WHAT THAT MAY MEAN. >> WE HAVE TO GET BUSINESS TRAVELACK. AMANDA: THE HEADS OF THE AMERICAN AND FLORIDA RESTAURANT AND LODGING ASSOCIATIONS MADE A PLEA IN ORLANDO TUESDAY FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERSND A CONVENTIONS TO RETURN TO FLORIDA. >> LEISURE TRAVEL ALONE CANNOT MAKE OUR INDUSTRY SURVIVE. WE HAVE TO HAVE THIS CONVENTION CENTER FILLED. AMDAAN THE TOURISM LEADERS SAID HOTEL REVENUES IN ORLANDO LAST YEAR WERE DOWN 65%. THEY PREDICT THE INDUSTRY WON’T FULLY RECOVER FOR ANOTHE2 R TO 3 YEARS. WHILE THEY WELCOME THE RAPID RETURN OF LEISURE TRAVEL, THE SLOW RETURN OF BUSINESS TRAVEL IS A SERIOUS CONCERN. COMPLICATING THINGS IS A LORAB SHORTAGE. >> WE ARE IN STRAIGHT NELI COMPETITION WITH THE GOVERNMENT . WHEN PEOPLE ARE BEING PAID WHAT THEY ARE BEING PAID TO STAY CALM AND NOT GO TO WORK, THEN WHY GO TO WORK? AMANDA: CAROL DOVER, THE HEAD OF THE FLORIDA RESTAURANT AND LODGING ASSOCIATION, APPLAUDED STATE LAWMAKERS FOR PUTTING AN END TO FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AS OF JUNE 26. SHE SAYS THAT, COMBINED WITH THE RETURN OF A JOB-SEEKING REQUIREMENFOT R THOSE ON UNEMPLOYMENT, HAS CAUSED A SPIKE IN APPLICATIONS FOR HOSPITALITY JOBS. NOW TOURISM LEADS ERHOPE FOR A SPIKE IN GROUP TRAVEL BOOKINGS. >> WE WANT TO CONTINUE TO T THE WORD OUT THAT ORLANDO IS OPEN, FLORIDA IS OPEN, AND THAT WE ARE SAFE AND IT IS SAFE TO COME VISIT OUR STATE. AMANDA: IN ORLANDO, AMANDA DUKES, WESH 2 NEWS. MICHELLE: ACCORDING TO THE FLORIDA RESTAURANT AND LODGING ASSOCIATION, PRIOR TO THE PANDEMIC, THE HOSPITALYIT INDUSTRY WAS FLORIDA’S LARGEST EMPLOYER, REPRESENTING OVER 1.5 MILLION WO

Tourism leaders urge business travelers, convention planners to start booking in Central Florida

Central Florida tourism leaders appeared in Orlando on Tuesday to make a plea for business travelers and convention planners to start booking locally.Visit Orlando says group travel is down 67 percent.The heads of the American and Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association warned if business and convention travel doesn’t return, it could threaten the recovery of their industry.Tourism leaders say they also face a critical labor shortage.Last year, more than 900,000 hospitality industry workers in Florida were furloughed or laid off.Some never returned.Federal unemployment benefits in Florida end on June 26, and hospitality industry leaders say they hope that will prompt more people to seek jobs.

Central Florida tourism leaders appeared in Orlando on Tuesday to make a plea for business travelers and convention planners to start booking locally.

Visit Orlando says group travel is down 67 percent.

The heads of the American and Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association warned if business and convention travel doesn’t return, it could threaten the recovery of their industry.

Tourism leaders say they also face a critical labor shortage.

Last year, more than 900,000 hospitality industry workers in Florida were furloughed or laid off.

Some never returned.

Federal unemployment benefits in Florida end on June 26, and hospitality industry leaders say they hope that will prompt more people to seek jobs.

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