Florida Attractions News

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

  • July 16, 2021 8:43 PM | Anonymous

    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.

  • June 22, 2021 11:48 AM | Anonymous
    It has been more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancelation of our 2020 Annual Conference, and we are excited to announce we will be getting attractions professionals across Florida back together in Fort Myers for our 2021 Annual Conference. Pease make plans to join your industry colleagues for 3 days of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, roundtables and professional networking at the beautiful, BRAND NEW Luminary Hotel in downtown Fort Myers!


  • June 11, 2021 10:25 AM | Anonymous
    In Memory of Our Friend Becky Bragg
    Becky Bragg, President and Owner of Canoe Outpost Peace River passed away on June 5. She was a dear friend to many of us in the attractions industry; a leader who was generous and loving, always willing and available to step in and serve.

    Becky loved Florida and its natural beauty, which she never took for granted. She loved sharing her corner of Florida, the Peace River, with thousands of guests year after year.

    Serving on the Board of Directors of the Florida Attractions Association, she represented our Affiliate Attraction members for more than a decade. She also represented rural destinations on the Visit Florida Board of Directors. Becky rarely missed an FAA event, and the association could always count on her to present, participate and give of her time at each Annual Conference, Attraction Regional Forum or Networking Night.

    Her passing is a loss to those who knew her, and she will be dearly missed.
    Becky is survived by her son, Trent Anthney, who will honor his mother’s legacy by continuing to share her beloved Peace River through the operation of Canoe Outpost. Beside the Peace River is a fitting final resting place for Becky; may its peace be hers.
  • May 24, 2021 10:58 AM | Anonymous
    -- SAVE THE DATES --
    Florida Attractions 2021 Annual Conference
    We're back! It has been more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancelation of our 2020 Annual Conference, and we are excited to announce we will be getting attractions professionals across Florida back together in Fort Myers for our 2021 Annual Conference. Pease make plans to join your industry colleagues for 3 days of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, roundtables and professional networking at the beautiful, BRAND NEW Luminary Hotel in downtown Fort Myers!
    August 29 - September 1, 2021
    The Luminary Hotel | Fort Myers
    FAA Members
    Enjoy full access to work-class speakers, breakout sessions, roundtables, the Networking Center/Exhibitors and 8 F&B functions included - only at the biggest attractions event in over a year!
    Registration Opens June 22nd!
    *Early Bird rate available to FAA members only
  • April 11, 2021 2:01 PM | Anonymous

    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.

  • March 30, 2021 6:46 PM | Anonymous

    Congratulations to the Recipients
    of 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.

    Lacy Collins

    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."

    Theresa Kieu

    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."

    Taylor Zapf

    Studying at: University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management

    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."

  • February 23, 2021 7:30 PM | Anonymous
    --- SAVE THE DATE ---
    2021 Annual Conference
    August 29 - September 1

    Luminary Hotel & Co.
    Fort Myers, FL
    It has been nearly a year since the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancelation of our 2020 Annual Conference, and we are excited to announce we will be getting attractions professionals across Florida back together in Fort Myers for our 2021 Annual Conference. Pease make plans to join your industry colleagues for 3 days of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, roundtables and professional networking at the beautiful, BRAND NEW Luminary Hotel in downtown Fort Myers!

    Details and Registration Coming Soon!
  • February 01, 2021 10:31 AM | Anonymous
    Now Accepting Applications for the
    2021 Scholarship
    Scholarships awarded by the Florida Attractions Scholarship Foundation are exclusively for FAA member business employees and their immediate family members. Eligible recipients must be enrolled full-time at a post-secondary institution in Florida in Hospitality Management or other related field.
    For full criteria and to apply for consideration, visit:
    You can also print this 8.5 x 11 flyer to display for your employees at your business!

    Thanks to the ongoing generosity of Florida Attractions Association members, this year, the Foundation and its Board of Directors will be awarding up to six - $2,000 scholarships. Recipients will also be invited to attend a Florida Attractions Association Annual Conference.

    Deadline for submissions is February 28, 2021 by midnight.
  • January 21, 2021 9:51 AM | Anonymous

    4-minute read

    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…

    Looking Back

    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.

    In addition,

    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.

    Looking Ahead

    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.

    In Conclusion

    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.

    Warm regards,


    Bill Lupfer
    Florida Attractions Association

  • December 17, 2020 11:36 AM | Anonymous

    Since the creation of the Florida Attractions Scholarship Foundation nearly nine years ago, the Foundation and its Board of Directors - made up of attractions industry professionals from across the state - have awarded scholarships to students pursuing degrees in hospitality-related fields. Despite the COVID-19 global pandemic, four students were awarded $2,000 each in 2020 to go toward their continuing education.

    Today, the Foundation Board is proud to announce that because of the ongoing generosity of our Florida Attractions Association members, the Foundation will be able to award four - $2,000 scholarships again in 2021.

    Scholarships awarded by the Florida Attractions Scholarship Foundation are exclusively for employees or immediate family members of FAA member businesses.

    On behalf of the Foundation Board of Directors, thank you for supporting the future of Florida's attractions industry by supporting the future hospitality workforce.

    Further details and how to apply will be made available January 2021. 

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