Friday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
International travel still lags amid COVID, inflation and gun worries
International tourists are gradually returning to Florida and the rest of the United States, but some potential travelers aren’t booking vacations because of COVID testing requirements, inflation and gun violence, experts at a travel trade show in Orlando said this week. Addressing those concerns is a priority for officials, as the U.S. Travel Association estimates international travel to the U.S. won’t approach pre-pandemic levels until about 2024. A new National Travel and Tourism strategy aims to bring 90 million international visitors to the U.S. every year over the next five years. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
New laws could help veterans get jobs
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed a slate of bills that he said will make a “big impact” on helping veterans and military spouses pursue jobs. The new laws are designed to do such things as provide tuition breaks for veterans and allow their military experience to count when applying for jobs in government and schools. More from the News Service of Florida.
Alachua County school district to host job fairs to fill roles at elementary schools
Alachua County Public Schools is looking to fill a variety of roles throughout the district and hopes to find qualified candidates at a pair of upcoming job fairs. The job fairs will be held Monday and Tuesday at Williams Elementary School and Metcalfe Elementary School. Both schools are looking to fill positions for teachers, aides, custodians and other staff members. For many positions, no experience is needed. More from the Gainesville Sun.
Almost four years after Hurricane Michael, a hotel rises in Mexico Beach
Mexico Beach was home to four hotels and motels before Michael. The Driftwood, three stories high with 23 rooms, is the first to come back, a symbol of the city’s ongoing recovery. It is taller, stronger — and more expensive. Rebuilding from Michael cost about $13 million, more than double the roughly $5 million they got from insurance. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Florida Institute of Technology given $1 million from State lawmakers for Indian River Lagoon
State lawmakers gave the Florida Institute of Technology $3 million, including nearly $1 million to create a temporary opening to the Indian River Lagoon so that more ocean water can flow into the estuary and possibly help clean it up. The Florida Legislature gave $921,500 this month to pursue federal permitting for a lagoon "inflow" study of Port Canaveral, near Canaveral Locks. The hope is that if more ocean water can flow into the lagoon, the cleaner it will be. The Legislature gave the same amount to the ongoing project last year. More from Florida Today.
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Michelin Guide honors Florida restaurants for the first time
For the first time ever, Florida restaurants received recognition from the elite and esteemed Michelin Guide. The coveted star ratings were bestowed to restaurants at an invite-only ceremony on Thursday evening at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes.Restaurants in Tampa, Orlando and Miami were eligible for stars. Orlando and Miami restaurants collectively nabbed a total of 15.
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