With the brutal winter now in the rear view mirror, many Americans are planning to take summer vacations, recent travel surveys show. The majority of Floridians — 81 percent — expect to take at least one summer trip of 50 miles or more away from home with an overnight stay during the next three months. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
» Foreigners do 70% of tourist spending
In the first three months of 2014, the governor said Florida had a record 26.7 million visitors, an increase of 2 percent compared to the first quarter of 2013. It was the best quarter in terms of visitors in state history. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Frank de la Torre [Photo: Michael Price]
Florida Atlantic University professor Frank de la Torre warns that his class isn’t about debating ‘stand your ground’ as pundits do on cable television. Toward the end of the semester, students take a side and articulate their position to classmates, but first they have to study – and learn – Florida’s version of the law. Access full story.
U.S. homebuilders are feeling less confident this month in their near-term sales prospects, reflecting doubts stirred by a sluggish start to the annual spring home-selling season. Even so, builders are more optimistic that sales will perk up later this year. More from the AP and Business Insider.
Is there a downside to job market recovery? If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, there may be. A recent Kauffman study showed that entrepreneurship suffers when the job market is in recovery mode. [Source: Forbes]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Power technology company wins Florida Venture pitch [Orlando Sentinel]
Jupiter-based startup company PowerPHASE won the Florida Venture Forum’s Early Stage Conference pitch session on Thursday. Twenty companies pitched all afternoon at the conference held at the Reunion Resort near Kissimmee.
› 300 Florida elementary schools to add hour to day [Orlando Sentinel]
Three hundred elementary schools will have to add an hour to their day next year, using the time for extra reading instruction, under the budget the Florida Legislature just approved.
› Duke Energy Florida plans to scrap coal power plants [Florida Times-Union]
Continuing a series of major changes, Duke Energy Florida said it plans to build a $1.5 billion natural-gas power plant in Citrus County while also shutting down two old coal-fired generating units.
› Tampa tech exec checks out Orlando's tech scene [Orlando Sentinel]
The former head of Tampa Bay’s biggest tech organization, the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, was in Orlando this week to check out the Orlando tech scene.
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› Orlando home prices highest since 2008 [Orlando Sentinel]
Prices of existing homes in the core Orlando market edged up to $163,000 in April – the highest median price since 2008, according to a new report. Prices in an area that includes mostly Orange and Seminole counties increased for the third consecutive month, according to Orlando Regional Realtors Association.
› Foreign startups and tech investors are looking for a home in the U.S. [Forbes]
Last week Miami played host to eMerge Americas, a conference that brought together the South Florida and Latin America tech communities. Over 6,000 participants registered representing players from the tech scene in South Florida and around the U.S., along with companies and investors from Latin America.
› Animal rights groups to pay Feld Entertainment $15.75 million [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
The Humane Society of the United States and others have agreed to pay Feld Entertainment $15.75 million to settle a long-standing lawsuit over the company's treatment of Asian elephants in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
› Amazon.com wants public funds for Miami distribution center [South Florida Business Journal]
An application filed by a confidential company that wants public funds to create 50 jobs in Miami-Dade County likely refers to Amazon.com’s planned distribution center.