Here you can find the latest stories and announcements from the Florida Attractions Association.
Help support rising hospitality superstars and join your industry colleagues and fellow golf enthusiasts for the Florida Attractions Scholarship Foundation's annual golf tournament with proceeds benefiting scholarships for students pursuing degrees in hospitality-related fields.
Today a new website was launched to help organizations reduce their risk of ransomware. StopRansomware.gov is the new ransomware homepage for federal government agencies to pool resources that can give businesses and organizations of all sizes the opportunity to better protect their networks. The website will also highlight the latest ransomware-related alerts from these agencies.
Ransomware cases are on the rise. In 2020 there was a 300% increase in the amount of ransoms paid, compared to the previous year. Ransomware incidents have become more destructive and impactful in both nature and scope. Malicious cyber actors target critical data and can propagate ransomware across entire networks. These cyber criminals also increasingly use tactics, such as deleting system backups that make restoration and recovery more difficult or infeasible for impacted organizations. The economic and reputational impacts of ransomware incidents, throughout the initial disruption and, at times, extended recovery, have also proven challenging for organizations large and small.
The new website will enable organizations to enhance their network defense while helping organizations be more aware and prepared to deal with malicious cyber actors.
StopRansomware.gov includes information about the critical steps that should be taken to respond to and recover from a cyberattack. This includes a comprehensive Ransomware Guide and Cyber Hygiene services that are available at no cost to help organizations with vulnerability scanning, web application scanning, penetration testing, and phishing assessments. These services can help to assess, identify, and reduce exposure to cyber threats like ransomware.
We advise all organizations to visit StopRansomware.gov to help mitigate ransomware risks.
From The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) - Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
CISA is pleased to announce the launch of the CISA Securing Public Gatherings website, www.cisa.gov/securing-public-gatherings, which features security resources related to public gatherings and crowded places for all stakeholders.
The CISA Securing Public Gatherings website is a key resource for connecting organizations of all types and sizes to our products to mitigate risk and promote resilience. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted daily operations and our collective sense of normalcy and challenged us to find innovative ways to share information with our stakeholders. This website is a step toward optimizing the agency’s information sharing capabilities and tools to accommodate the current virtual work environment in which we operate. This format offers a flexible, user-friendly experience and enables more frequent updates to the website, providing stakeholders with the most up-to-date content, products, and information CISA has to offer.
This website will provide the general public; businesses and critical infrastructure owners and operators; state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) government officials and first responders; houses of worships; and schools with security resources that address a variety of threat vectors impacting public gatherings and crowded places. All CISA products posted on the website are categorized by audience and topic area with clickable icons to help users easily navigate to the most relevant information.
Congratulations to the Recipientsof the 2021 Scholarship!
The Florida Attractions Scholarship Foundation and its Board of Directors are proud to announce 3 recipients for this year's scholarship! These recipients are hard-working, aspiring hospitality industry professionals and will receive a $2,000 scholarship to go toward their education.
Studying at: University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management
Major: Hospitality and Tourism Management w/ a Concentration in Theme Park Management
Anticipated Graduation: May 2021
Current Position: VIP/RIP Experience Tour Guide at Universal Orlando Resort
Career Objective: "I would like to continue my progress at Universal Orlando Resort. My plan is to be in management where I can continue to support my team and the business. I want to be in a position where the people who report to me feel represented, heard, and recognized, while still acknowledging the needs of the business."
Studying at: University of Central Florida
Major: Hospitality Management
Anticipated Graduation: Summer 2021
Current Position: Guest Services Coordinator at Universal Orlando Resort
Career Objective: "I plan on pursuing a Master's Degree from the University of Central Florida. My current career objective is to continue to innovate and advance the hospitality industry through ideas and framework through the pandemic. Although there is no clear end in sight, my ultimate goal is to be able to organize and lead a team by example and continue in the pillars of professionalism, leadership and service. By pursuing my passion of hospitality and remaining true to my vision and goals, I look forward to the continuous challenges lying ahead and am honored to be able to experience and contribute to
the overall quality of life throughout the hospitality and tourism industry."
Major: Hospitality / Theme Park and Attraction Management
Anticipated Graduation: 2021
Current Position: Attractions Attendant - Fast & Furious: Supercharged at Universal Orlando Resort
Career Objective: "My current career objective is to be in a position of leadership at a theme park where I can use my knowledge, skills, and passion to make people happy and create great experiences for them to remember for a lifetime. I would also be interested in one day moving into the creative team of a project like a new ride, show, parade, or park. Whether my career be in a show or guest facing aspect, or making the product come together in terms of safety, organization, and operation behind the scenes, I would be honored to be involved in any way. I have taken great interests in the areas of live entertainment, rides, and guest services throughout my career in the theme park industry, and I would be happy pursuing a career in any of those. I am open to any path life will take me, as long as it is part of making the incredible experience of a theme park come together. I currently am trying to learn everything I can to prepare myself to have as much knowledge of a park's operation as I can, so I am equipped to handle any situation as a
leader. Above all else, I believe that if I am in a career that will ultimately result in bringing
people happiness, I will be content."
A year ago, no one would have imagined the disruption we would soon experience. This pandemic speaks to the fragility of life, the value of friends and family and the interdependence of community. We have all suffered loss and experienced goodwill of people who otherwise may never have crossed our path.
Our Florida attractions industry has stood the test of the pandemic. We have granted relief to our communities, serving them in numerous ways and providing a brief escape, creating positive memories, and sharing the joy of natural and manmade wonders.
As we continue through the pandemic, your Florida Attractions Association, like our members, has evolved. Please take a moment to read this…
As the reality of the pandemic set in, the FAA shifted gears, operating with extraordinary flexibility to purposefully serve our industry. Facilitating communication with and between our members became paramount. We launched a series of webinars and conference calls to share the state of industry, best practices, and intel. Over the past 9 months, 15 of these webinars have been offered to our members. Our webinar archive is here.
The FAA is well-recognized at our state capitol, however the pandemic required your association to engage at the federal level, lobbying Florida’s Congressional delegation to support stimulus programs to provide relief for our member businesses. The CARES Act, EIDL and Payroll Protection Program were essential to our member’s business continuation. Keeping our member’s informed with the process for tapping into federal and state programs was crucial.
Perhaps the greatest challenge your association faced was working with elected officials and public servants helping them understand the diverse nature of our industry and terminology to define us. The use of ambiguous terms created a fiasco that was aggressively addressed by the FAA. Labels such as “Amusement Parks” and “Theme Parks” were often used in Executive Orders with no definition nor awareness of the limitation of those terms. The application of Executive Orders became muddled. The FAA worked with the Governor’s office to interpret intent and then assist dozens of Florida counties and municipalities with accurate interpretation of each Executive Order’s objective.
The FAA was the first to draft an industry Best Practices Guide for reopening.
Through our lobby team at Liberty Partners of Tallahassee, the FAA was in direct contact with Governor DeSantis’ team to query his staff on your questions and to clarify Executive Orders.
The FAA worked confidentially with dozens of our members to assist them in dealing with their unique operational and local government issues during the pandemic.
The FAA interceded on behalf of our members to influence county government decisions to reopen our facilities based on the soundest protocols.
The FAA communicated every step of the way to keep you informed, to ask for your advocacy action and assist you with reopening your businesses.
The FAA paused dues collection and worked with individual member businesses requiring assistance with retaining their membership.
The FAA temporarily suspended reciprocal benefit programs that would cause an additional burden on already stressed members.
The FAA hosted four in-person Networking Nights – for many participants, the first opportunity they had to network with their fellow industry professionals “masked face-to-face” since the beginning of the pandemic.
The FAA made appropriate reductions in our expenses and our staff has been reduced to two, with some services being outsourced.
Our Board of Directors has been active in monitoring the industry and ensuring the FAA is aggressively meeting the needs of our members.
As vaccines are administered and there is renewed hope for “light at the end of the tunnel”, the FAA has switched gears again and is moving full speed into the new year.
Because of the generosity of our members even during a pandemic, the Florida Attractions Scholarship Foundation has been able to fully fund our scholarship programs for 2021. This year, six, $2000 scholarships will be awarded – a record amount. These scholarships are available exclusively to the employees and their dependents of our FAA members. Applications will be accepted during February.
Our Attraction Regional Forum will be presented – in virtual format – on February 11. Registration begins next week. This will not be a typical “Zoomish” webinar. Every participant will be actively engaged as if we were together in person in a new and unique virtual environment hosted by Gatherly. This year, for the first time, Associate members will be joining Attraction members as we work together to rebuild our industry and tourism economy.
Florida Tourism Day will not be held in Tallahassee this year; however, our industry will host Florida Attractions District Day on February 26. We will invite your county’s Legislative Delegation to your attraction for educational tours and inform them of the importance of supporting Florida’s tourism industry while in Legislative Session in Tallahassee which begins March 2.
Our 2021 Annual Conference will be a bit later, but in person, August 29 – September 1 at the beautiful, new Luminary Resort in downtown Fort Myers.
We resumed our attractionShare benefit in October and will be expanding that program for participating Primary Attractions on February 1.
Also for our Primary Attractions, the VIP Benefit Program will relaunch on a limited basis on February 16.
Thank you for taking time to read this report. In my 45 years working in the attraction industry, there’s never been a time like this. “Unprecedented” doesn’t do justice to defining what we’ve been through. There’s been more attraction-to-attraction interaction than ever before and the collaboration between our members has been profound. Your vigilance, adaptability, resilience, and strength are an inspiration. The “FAA spirit” is alive and flourishing.
Your FAA staff (Mike & I) appreciate your support, patience, and encouragement. Our hope is that our collective efforts will yield a speedier recovery and ultimately a healthier industry moving forward.
We’re here for you. Let us know if we can serve you.
Florida Attractions Association
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