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Friday's Afternoon Update

Lack of business travelers has Florida hotel revenue down

For the hospitality industry, it has been a pleasant rise in travel with people taking vacations and visiting friends and family. But that has not been the case for business travel. According to a new survey, the hotel business has lost billions of dollars in the two years since the pandemic started. When it comes to tourism, Florida's bread and butter, the good news is leisure travel is doing great. It's expected to get back to pre-pandemic levels this year. But business travel is a different story. A survey is predicting numbers to be down 23% this year. More from WESH and WINK.

Do Floridians have a right to clean water? Advocates working to change the state constitution

Free speech, religion, assembly, work: Many Floridians know those rights are guarantees by their federal and state constitutions. But the right to clean water? Nowhere to be found. A group of clean water advocates is working to change that. On Thursday, they announced a drive to get the “Right to Clean and Healthy Waters” added as a state constitutional amendment on the 2024 ballot. To qualify, the amendment needs 891,589 signed and verified petitions. More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Saint Leo University and Marymount California call off merger plan

Saint Leo University’s plans to merge with Marymount California University and extend its brand have been scrapped because of complications with accreditation. Saint Leo, a Catholic university based in Pasco County with 16 campuses across five states, announced in July it would take over the Los Angeles County school’s buildings and property, valued at $60 million. It also planned to take on Marymount’s debt, expected to be around $3.7 million. More from the Tampa Bay Times.

Miami-Dade home prices hit new high, crushing American Dream for many people

The median sales price of single-family homes in Miami-Dade increased to a new monthly high for March of $540,000, up from $536,000 in February and $491,250 a year ago, according to an existing home sales report released Wednesday by the Miami Association of Realtors. Meanwhile, the median price of condos sold last month in Miami-Dade was $400,000, a big jump from $305,000 in March 2021. More from the Miami Herald.

Special Olympics USA Games are headed to Orlando — with a $60 million windfall

Six weeks from now, more than 100,000 athletes, coaches and fans will converge on Central Florida for what will be the largest Special Olympics USA Games in the 54-year history of the competition. Along with exposure for the region, organizers expect the weeklong event to have a $60 million economic impact. “We are absolutely thrilled and honored,” said Joe Dzaluk, the USA Games’ president and CEO. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

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State extends red snapper season

floridaFlorida anglers this year will have extra days to fish for Gulf red snapper under an expanded season. The red snapper recreational season is slated to last 57 days, two days longer than last year’s season. The summer season will span 45 days, from June 17 through July 31. The 12-day fall season will be spread across weekends in October and November, including Veterans Day weekend and the weekend following Thanksgiving.

» Read more from the News Service of Florida.