Florida Attractions News

Here you can find the latest stories and announcements from the Florida Attractions Association.

  • May 29, 2020 10:23 AM | Anonymous
    COVID-19 Tourism Recovery Research
    The Florida Attractions Association has collected valuable research on the current state of COVID-19 economic recovery and consumer sentiment on travel and vacationing.  This research is available below and is also available on your association website.

     (multiple report) by US Travel Association


    COVID-19 FL Tourism Impacts 



    COVID-19 Strategic Impacts 

    (various reports) by CIVIC Science


    COVID-19 Travel Insight Report 

    (updated frequently) by MMGY Global


    Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus 

    (updated weekly) by Destination Analysts


    COVID-19 Travel & Attractions Update

    (Wave 7) by H2R's


    Florida Attractions Association, 1114 North Gadsden Street, Tallahassee, FL 32303
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  • May 27, 2020 12:24 PM | Anonymous
    Contact the U.S. Congress Today on Behalf of the Attractions Industry!

    Both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate are expected to vote on legislation to amend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). We need you to ACT NOW! 

    Please contact your elected officials and urge them that any PPP amendments must include the following:
    • Increased loan forgiveness flexibility on how funds can be used and the timeline for usage from 8 to 20 weeks after commencement of loan.
    • Given the uncertainty of the pandemic and the ability of businesses to fully open, extend the duration of the program through December 31, 2020 and focus funds on the most severely impacted businesses such as those subject to mandatory shutdowns and social distancing requirements.
    • Given the anticipated slow recovery of the attractions industry to full capacity, increase loan repayment terms from 2 to 10 years.
    • For the purposes of eligibility for the PPP for seasonal businesses such as attractions industry businesses, change the definition of "employee" to "full-time equivalent" to accurately reflect the size of the business. Over 90% of the employment at an amusement park or attraction is comprised of employees who work less than a quarter of what a full-time employee works. This change would be consistent with the current Internal Revenue Code 45R(d)(2) loan amount which is based on actual payroll costs, and with the forgiveness sections of the Act which rely on full-time equivalent calculations.

    Florida Attractions Association, 1114 North Gadsden Street, Tallahassee, FL 32303
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  • May 22, 2020 12:36 PM | Anonymous

    FAA Reflections on Memorial Day 2020

    Dear FAA Family,

    On the eve of this holiday weekend, I appreciate the opportunity to share with 
    you some thoughts on serving our industry during the past few weeks.

    We're all aware of the pain, suffering and death produced by the pandemic. The numbers are staggering and its tempting to discount the impact on lives as we've been desensitized of the magnitude of the disaster.

    It's rewarding to be in an industry that will be instrumental in the healing of a tired state, nation and world. Our FAA members will offer the relief we need and provide joy, inspiration, discovery and magic at a time when humanity needs it most.

    The past few weeks have been particularly rewarding as the FAA has worked to provide direction for many of our members as they work through the closing and reopening protocols specific to their situation.  Even better, to hear that our members are connecting with each other, sharing intel and experience, willing to help fellow members move through processes specific to their attraction type or location. After all, the power of our Association is the association we share with one another as an attractions family.

    We owe gratitude to so many - our families and friends, our coworkers, employees, colleagues. Our communities and leaders. The wisdom and collective experiences of our FAA members, the FAA Board, many seasoned attractions professionals and FAA Staff have all served to steer the FAA through these difficult weeks.

    Our lobby team at Liberty Partners of Tallahassee have been instrumental in many ways helping guide us through uncharted waters of state and local executive and emergency orders and regulatory pronouncements. Their behind-the-scenes work on your behalf is a FAA member benefit that has made the path to economic recovery smoother for our members.  

    As we move into the next chapter of our pandemic story, stay safe, follow your protocols, document everything, ensure your guests and staff are given the resources, training and information they need. Its is imperative, as an industry that we mitigate the threats of virus transmission and build confidence of the traveling public that our facilities can be safely enjoyed.

    As we celebrate Memorial Day, lets not forget to honor and mourn the valiant men and women who we've lost in the defense of our nation. They've protected our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To those heroes we've lost, we owe a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.

    With thankfulness for them and appreciation of you, best wishes for a safe, healthy holiday weekend.



    Bill Lupfer
    Florida Attractions Association

  • May 21, 2020 3:36 PM | Anonymous
    Member Update - Reopening Attractions
    Dear Members,

    Thank you for your patience as we work together to Reopen Florida Attractions. We have previously provided insight into Governor DeSantis' Executive Order 2020-123 and the requirement of our members under the regulatory authority of the  Bureau of Fair Rides. There are City and County Executive Orders which are more restrictive (and in full force and effect) than 
    the State's. These include:



    Fort Lauderdale (City specific, but also reference Broward EO)

    Orange County Mayor has established a process requiring "attractions" to submit a plan and go through a review process, including an inspection by the Orange County Building Department. Details here.

    We're beginning to collect samples of our member's submissions to government agencies and are hosting them for you on this Document Samples page. Since all submissions to government are public by law, you can help your fellow members by sharing your samples, too. Send them to daglis@floridaattractions.org

    Our Attraction Operating Status Page is the go-to page for visitors to Florida, VISIT FLORIDA, Florida's Welcome Centers, and the media. Please keep us informed of changes to your operating status including partial or full reopening date to daglis@floridaattractions.org. As of next weekend approximately 40% of our 125 attraction members will be partially or fully open.

    Two of our FAA member benefit programs, AttractionShare and VIP Benefit have been paused for a few weeks. We currently anticipate these programs restarting in July.

    We're updating and will reissue our Associate Member's complimentary consulting offers next week. Please consider using your fellow FAA Supplier Associate Members as you consider your needs for goods and services as we reopen our state.

    Your FAA Team is ready to serve you. If there is anything we can do to assist you in reopening your attraction, please let us know.


    Bill Lupfer
    Florida Attractions Association

  • May 20, 2020 1:53 PM | Anonymous
    Bureau of Fair Rides
    Reopening Your Attraction Best Practices
    The following information is for FAA members who fall under the regulatory authority of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/Bureau of Fair Rides.

    We have previously shared with you Governor DeSantis' Executive Order 2020-123 which was executed last Friday and became effective this week (12:01 am, Monday, May 18, 2020) as a "Full Phase 1" of his Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan for Florida's Recovery.

    We suggest you considering utilizing the following "best practices" steps to reopen your facility.
    1. Complete your Reopening Plan which includes a proposed date for the resumption of operations and proposed guidelines to ensure guest and staff safety. Reference that you've incorporated best practices from an industry association (either FAA or IAAPA) and your intent to comply with official guidance from the CDC, OSHA, and the Florida Department of Health.  

    2. Submit your reopening plan to your County or City Mayor or County Administrator requesting their written endorsement of your reopening plan. I suggest you include a copy of EO 2020-123 as a reference document with your request. (Orange County Attractions see note below).
    3. Submit your request (email template below) to reopen and attach the endorsement letter and your Reopening Plan to Governor DeSantis' office Adrian.Lukis@eog.myflorida.com and James.Uthmeier@eog.myflorida.com, CC: FairRides@FDACS.GOV as they are your regulatory/licensing entity. Your request to the State is "self-executing".
    Again, be sure to CC: your email to the Bureau of Fair Rides (fairrides@FDACS.gov) and also any other State regulatory agency as a courtesy and notification of your intent to reopen. It is also recommended that you copy your local law enforcement agency (County Sheriff/City Police) and County Health Department as a courtesy. Executive Orders are specifically enforced by County Sheriffs and you can find contact information for your local Sheriff here.

    Review this guidance from the Bureau of Fair Rides for details on ride inspection and license renewals.

    Document everything. Follow through with your plan.

    If you have any questions, please contact me.


    Bill Lupfer
    Florida Attractions Association

    Email Template
    Subject: Amusement Park Reopening; EO 2020-123

    Dear Governor DeSantis:

    Attached to this email is a copy of the Reopening Plan for <name of your attraction>. The plan includes a proposed opening date and guidelines to ensure the safety of our guests and staff. Also attached is an endorsement letter from <name, title, of county/city official>.

    We are in compliance with your Executive Order 2020-123 and have notified State and/or regulatory agencies of our plan to Reopen.

    Thank you for your leadership through the pandemic and for your Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan for Florida's Recovery.


    <your signature block>

    Note: Orange County Attractions - County Mayor Demings has established a process for requesting his Endorsement Letter. We are waiting for that information and will forward it to our Orange County members when it is received and confirmed.

    Florida Attractions Association, 1114 North Gadsden Street, Tallahassee, FL 32303
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  • May 18, 2020 9:16 AM | Anonymous
    --- FAA MEMBER ALERT ---
    EFFECTIVE MAY 18, 2020
    Since Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 20-123 on Friday, May, 15, we've worked with his office to develop guidance for our members.  Please review this document outlining details on how this Order affects your business.  Executive Order 20-123 becomes effective today, May 18, 2020.
    If you have any questions, please contact me 850-222-2885 or lupfer@floridaattractions.org
    Thank you,

    Bill Lupfer
    Florida Attractions Association

  • May 15, 2020 4:21 PM | Anonymous
    Let's Reopen - Safe and Smart.
    This afternoon, Governor DeSantis moved Florida to a "full Phase One" effective Monday, May 18.

    "Amusement parks. Parks can submit reopening plans to the state. They should identify the date certain that they believe they can resume safe operations. They have to provide how they're going to do it. How they're going to accommodate the guests. How they're going to protect the staff and then they need to have an endorsement from the relevant official in their locality, Orange County Mayor or wherever you're talking about."

    Unfortunately, the Governor did not specify who at the state level should receive your reopening plan nor did he specify who at your county (except for Orlando) should endorse your reopening plan. We're seeking clarity on those two points now.

    The one-page graphic released after the press conference only addresses "amusement parks."

    Finally the Governor's own Plan for Florida's Recovery does not specifically address the attractions industry, except for "Theme Parks", which according to his plan should remain closed under Phase 1.

    Despite these mixed messages, you should have your reopening plan completed and begin preparations for reopening. Resources are available here (FAA) and here (IAAPA).

    We're waiting for the Governor's Executive Order to be posted and will forward it to you as soon as it is available.

    Please contact me with any questions.

    Thank you,


    Florida Attractions Association, 1114 North Gadsden Street, Tallahassee, FL 32303
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  • May 04, 2020 3:02 PM | Anonymous

    Quick update...

    Last Wednesday, Governor DeSantis announced his Plan for Florida's Recovery - Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. In Phase One, effective today, restaurants and retail establishments may open at 25% capacity. There is also a provision for libraries and "local public museums" to open with limited capacity. The Executive Order can be read here.

    Since that announcement on Wednesday, the Governor amended the Phase One plan two days later, by also opening Florida's State Parks, effective today.

    The FAA has developed a foundation for reopening Florida's attractions. With the primary focus on safety, our Best Practice Considerations provides an industry-wide route which requires each attraction to adopt CDC and OSHA guidance at that point in time and as well as social distancing appropriate for the current phase of reopening.  

    The FAA Plan is dynamic, and changes as official government guidance is updated to reflect changes in the pandemic metrics (i.e.: Phase One, Phase Two, Phase Three).

    The FAA is working on several fronts to advocate for the reopening of Florida's attractions. This could be achieved if Governor DeSantis were to further amend Florida's Phase One or move into Phase Two. Obviously, the opening of "local public museums", while commendable, is not sufficient as we recognize many of our members could open at 25% capacity and achieve similar, if not even greater social distancing objectives.

    Call to action...

    Please help us with our efforts on your behalf by contacting your Florida State Senator and Representative today and ask for their support in advocating for your business and our industry with Governor DeSantis' office. Ask the Governor to allow our attractions industry to begin the recovery of our tourism economy and provide the opportunity for our guests to experience the wonder and create the memories that make Florida's world-class attractions the driver of visitation to the Sunshine State..

    Once the Governor makes the determination to allow our attractions to reopen, each of our members must make the decision of how and when to reopen. We believe you know how to best achieve that objective for your attraction based on a multitude of criteria that you will consider in determining the most prudent course for your business.

    If you have any questions or receive any feedback, please contact me at your convenience.

    Thank you,

    Bill Lupfer
    President & CEO
    Florida Attractions Association

  • April 07, 2020 10:09 AM | Anonymous
    The Florida Attractions Scholarship Foundation Board of Directors are pleased to announce 4 Scholarship Recipients for the 2020 Scholarship Program! Each recipient will be presented with a check for $2,000 from the Foundation to aid them in the pursuit of their college education.
    Kiara Miranda Berrios
    This is Kiara's second year receiving the FASF Scholarship! She is currently in her senior year at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida where she will graduate with a degree in Hospitality Management with a minor in Marketing. She is also working as a Travel Industry Sales Intern for Visit Orlando. Her career objective upon completing her degree is to work full-time with a DMO to help increase visitors to the great state of Florida by building relationships with national and international tour operators, wholesalers and retail travel agents.
    Alexandria Edwards
    A graduate of Stetson University with a degree in Business Administration and Marketing, Alexandria is currently pursuing another degree through an online program with the University of Oklahoma in Museum Studies. She has worked at Edison Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers since 2016 where she has held several positions and is now working as a Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator. Her love of history and her time at Edison and Ford is what inspired her to pursue her new degree, and her career objective is to move into a director or management role in either collections or museum administration.
    Sophie Gana
    Sophie has already acquired impressive credentials as a professional in the attractions industry. She is currently Supervisor of Attractions Operations at Universal Orlando Resort and is expecting to graduate in December with her Bachelor of Science in Entertainment Management from the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida. With a background in theater and theme park entertainment, her career objective is to work in other aspects of attractions management including events and music festivals. She has a passion for Halloween events and worked as a stage manager for Universal's Halloween Horror Nights in Fall 2019. 
    Jonathan Tapanes
    Jonathan is working on his degree in Hospitality
    Management from the University of Central Florida while also working in the industry as an attractions attendant at Universal Orlando Resort. Having also worked as an operations intern at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, his career objective is to stay in the theme park and attractions industry upon graduation. He remains a useful contributor to the Universal Orlando team and is working on honing his leadership skills. Jonathan is also a Florida Bright Futures Academic Scholar, Eagle Scout, and volunteers with Give Kids the World.
    Thank you to everyone who applied. It was a tough decision for the Board, but great to see so many qualified future hospitality-superstars!

    Keep up the great work!

    Florida Attractions Association, 1114 North Gadsden Street, Tallahassee, FL 32303
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  • March 17, 2020 10:11 AM | Anonymous
    Bridge Loans | Economic Injury Disaster Loans | 
    Small Business and Non-profit Organizations
    As a service to our members, the FAA is providing information on 2 small business loan programs now available.

    1. Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans 
    (Florida Department of Economic Opportunity)

    Governor Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from COVID-19. The application period runs through May 8, 2020. Non-profits are not eligible to apply for this program.

    The DEO will administer the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation to provide cash flow to businesses economically impacted by COVID-19. The short-term, interest-free loans help bridge the gap between the time the economic impact occurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or longer-term Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. Up to $50 million has been allocated for the program.

    The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program information is available here.

    2. Economic Injury Disaster Loans 
    (US Small Business Administration)

    Congress has passed, and the President has signed an aid package (Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    A component of this package will be low interest loans administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration to businesses impacted by the virus. An Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

    These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can't be paid because of the disaster's impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.

    To begin, a county needs to be approved by the SBA for an Economic Loss Declaration, through a request submitted by the governor.

    Governor Ron DeSantis announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida's local business operations. The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin.

    For inquiries or assistance with the survey, businesses can contact Emergency Support Function 18 at ESF18@em.myflorida.com

    For additional information on SBA programs, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov

    Florida Attractions Association, 1114 North Gadsden Street, Tallahassee, FL 32303
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