O Canada: Tourists ‘flocking' to Florida
ravel to Florida from Canada has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels, but visa issues continue to complicate the state’s efforts to draw overseas visitors, according to tourism officials. The tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida reported Tuesday that the state attracted an estimated 1.44 million Canadians during the first quarter of 2023. With COVID-19 vaccine restrictions lifted at the Canada-U.S. border, the first-quarter number was up from an estimated 488,000 Canadian visitors in the first quarter of 2022. [Source: News Service of Florida]
‘I’m going to Miami:’ Soccer legend Lionel Messi says he intends to play in Florida
Lionel Messi is coming to Inter Miami, rejecting a $500 million deal from Saudi Arabia and a sentimental pull to return to FC Barcelona, where he spent the first 21 years of his career. His highly anticipated decision puts to rest an endless trail of rumors that circulated around the world for years and dominated soccer social media the past few weeks. More from the Miami Herald and the AP.
» The Messi Effect: Inter Miami ticket prices jump 1,000% after Messi joins MLS
Florida property insurance costs rising faster than any other state
Anyone in Florida who has opened a home insurance bill in the last few years knows premiums have been skyrocketing. New estimates from a data analysis company shows they’ve actually been rising faster than in any other state — a lot faster. The numbers show just how massive the impact has been on the wallets of Florida consumers, with home insurance costs up about 57% since 2015, according to LexisNexis Risk Solutions. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Recreational marijuana may be on Florida ballot; here's why leading pot advocate isn't happy
A leader in the Florida cannabis community fears a proposed recreational marijuana initiative may be doomed because it offers little change for consumers, but provides a bigger market for the medical marijuana giant backing the proposal. The Adult Personal Use of Marijuana proposed ballot measure would legalize marijuana for nonmedical use and has submitted the required number of signatures to qualify for the 2024 ballot. [Source: Gainesville Sun]
'Move over' for everyone — it's the law. Here's what Floridians need to know
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that expands Florida’s "Move Over" law. It goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2024. According to AAA, Florida's current "Move Over" law requires drivers to slow down and/or move over one lane for emergency responders. It includes tow trucks, municipal vehicles and utility vehicles. With the new changes, AAA officials say Florida will become the 17th state requiring drivers to move over for all disabled vehicles, as well. [Source: WTSP]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› South Florida construction jobs fall along with building permits [Miami today]
The impact of a more than 20% drop in South Florida residential construction permits issued in 2022 from the 2021 total is showing up in a declining number of Miami-Dade construction jobs this year. Miami-Dade’s construction job loss in April from April 2022 resulted in 2,500 fewer persons at work, a 4.8% job decline, according to figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
› Streak of record-setting months ends at 14 for Orange County tourist tax [Orlando Sentinel]
Orange County’s tourist tax raked in $33.6 million in April but the haul ended a record run. Though the April figure was the fourth-highest in the history of the tax, it was about $1 million less than April 2022, ending a 14-month streak in which the tax receipts set a new record for a month. “Every other county in Florida would have loved to have collected that,” said Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond, whose office tracks revenues from the 6% levy on rentals of hotel rooms and other short-term lodgings.
› Visit St. Pete-Clearwater CEO leaves county tourism agency [Tampa Bay Times]
The CEO of Visit St. Pete-Clearwater, the public agency charged with promoting Pinellas to tourists, resigned Tuesday. Steve Hayes, who joined the agency in December 2019, could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday morning. He offered no reason for his departure in his resignation, reviewed by the Tampa Bay Times, but said he was “extremely proud” of the team and the “hard work they have put in to drive growth of tourism here in Pinellas County.”
› Jaguars unveil "stadium of the future" whose cost could top $1 billion [Florida Times-Union]
The Jacksonville Jaguars showcased the team's vision for a dramatic overhaul of the football stadium that would build a shiny roof over the stadium and make numerous other changes that the team says would make it a "stadium of the future." A city document puts the rough estimated cost for all the improvements at $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion. The city's share would be 67% of the cost, or a range of $800 million to $934 million. The Jaguars would pay the rest for the work on the city-owned stadium.
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› Chinese citizens file emergency motion to block Florida law [Florida Phoenix]
Attorneys for a group of Chinese citizens who live and work in Florida have filed an emergency motion in federal court to block a new law that bans Chinese nationals from purchasing property near military installations or critical infrastructure facilities. The Chinese citizens in the lawsuit say they will experience a constitutional injury, unwarranted stigma and significant financial harms if the measure (SB 264) goes into effect on July 1, according to a motion filed Tuesday night in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.
› As popularity of craft beer keeps soaring, Florida brewer praises UF hops research [Morning AgClips]
Lucas Frank started brewing beer at home in 2010 and in 2019, decided to change careers after working in health care for 20 years. He established his own business, Hiatus Brewing in Ocala in 2019. To make your own beer, you need hops. That’s where University of Florida researchers enter the picture. “I had heard about Florida-grown hops as a home brewer and used them for the first time in 2018,” said Frank. “As a home brewer, it was exciting to be able to pick hops off the bine and then brew with them the same day.”
› Sarasota ranked among best Florida cities for vacation thanks to hotels, restaurants, beaches [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Sarasota's great selection of hotels and restaurants has placed the city among the best in Florida for a family vacation. The index study released by FloridaRentals.com today, June 7, ranks Orlando as the top destination for family fun, thanks to its 67 water and amusement parks. Tampa placed second, followed by Sarasota. The study notes that Sarasota has an average 8.17 out of 10 hotel rating and that there are 678 restaurants for tourists to enjoy while visiting.
› Hyatt Place Melbourne Airport 'fly-in hotel' offers rooftop terrace, bar next to airfield [Florida Today]
Dozens of people jammed the ground-floor lobby for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly built Hyatt Place Melbourne Airport "fly-in hotel" just west of the passenger terminal, right along the airport perimeter fencing. Afterward, attendees ascended elevators to the hotel's breezy fifth-floor rooftop bar for pizza, meatball appetizers and wine. The terrace affords sweeping views of airfield activities: Melbourne Orlando International Airport's runways; FIT Aviation's fleet and facilities; Northrop Grumman's campus; Embraer's cluster of buildings.