Space Coast Tourism Council Luncheon Big Hit

By  //  May 17, 2013

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TOURISM & HOSPITALITY

ABOVE VIDEO: From surfing on the beach, ziplining at Brevard Zoo, meeting an Astronaut at Kennedy Space Center or waving goodbye to the cruise ships a quick look at the all the things you can do on Florida’s Space Coast.

BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL,FLORIDA — Over 300 people attended the Space Coast Office of Tourism Annual Tourism Day Luncheon at the Radisson at the Port, to recognize many people who have helped tourism in Brevard County.

Space Coast Fun Guide sponsored the luncheon. Wayne Belden, Krissy Belden and John Belden (Space Coast Daily image)

Space Coast Fun Guide sponsored the luncheon. Wayne Belden, Krissy Belden and John Belden. (Space Coast Daily image)

The theme of the luncheon was “Come Fly With Me” to celebrate all the ways that the aviation and space flight industry in Brevard helps tourism.

Tom Williamson, Tourism Council Chairman cited many flight based organizations that promote Brevard tourism including the Melbourne International Airport, Florida Biplanes, Bristow Academy, the Valiant Air Command Air Show, the Valkaria Airport Air Show, the Cocoa Beach Air Show, Embraer, Florida Air Academy, Florida Institute of Technology, United Launch Alliance and SpaceX.

Frank Sinatra tribute artist Mark Roberts, entertained the attendees with several renditions of Sinatra favorites.

HIGH SCHOOL HOSPITALITY PROGRAM

The tourism luncheon was also sponsored by Wayne and John Belden, owners of the SPACE COAST FUN GUIDE, which enabled 17 Brevard County High School students from the hospitality and entertainment programs of both Merritt Island and Rockledge High Schools to attend and be recognized at the luncheon.

Duran Golf Professional Matthew Williamson and General Manager, David Tomczak enjoyed the luncheon

Duran Golf Professional Matthew Williamson and General Manager, David Tomczak enjoyed the luncheon. (Space Coast Daily image)

The nine student representatives from Rockledge High School and eight from Merritt Island High are studying to gain the knowledge and skills required for a successful career in the world’s largest service industry.

Their programs offer an in depth look at all aspects of travel, tourism and hospitality, including business, geography, global studies, economics and technology.

ROCKLEDGE HIGH STUDENTS

• Jessica Bogus who is a senior, will graduate May 18th.  Jessica completed her Hospitality Academy internship with Ron Jon Cape Caribe and her favorite volunteering experience was when she got to help plan and coordinate a wedding and see it all come together on the day of the wedding.

rockledge-high-logo-250• Dominique Daniels who is a junior, who just passed and earned her ServSafe certification. Her favorite volunteering experience was working the Cocoa Beach Air Show.

• Matt Forbes, who is a junior, who just passed and earned his ServSafe certification. He interned with the Brevard County Manatee’s and has been offered and accepted a paid position with the Manatees.

• Rachel MacDonald, who is a junior, who is in the Cambridge Program and is also completing the Fashion program at Rockledge.

• Phoebe McClaughlin, who is a junior, who just passed and earned her ServSafe certification.  She sat on the event committee for a big anniversary event for Community Credit Union. She is also in Rockledge high school’s prestigious Cambridge program and a Varsity Softball player.

• Crystal McCluney, who is a junior and her favorite volunteering experience was helping with the Pumpkin patch at a local church.

Also enjoying the luncheon were Katie Clay from Duran Golf Club, Rick Clay, Vice President of Florida Beer Company and Bill Wisniewski, Business Manager of Giant Recreation World in Cocoa

Also enjoying the luncheon were Katie Clay from Duran Golf Club, Rick Clay, Vice President of Florida Beer Company and Bill Wisniewski, Business Manager of Giant Recreation World in Cocoa. (Space Coast Daily image)

• Sevonte Miller, who is a junior who just passed and earned his ServSafe certification. He was also just awarded the Top Junior Volunteer Award for the SET Academy, volunteered at the Tim Wakefield Golf Tournament Event and is working towards earning his Cambridge degree. Miller is also a Varsity Soccer Player.

• Timetrea Smith, who is a junior working in the Hospitality Industry and her favorite volunteering experience was planning, coordinating and working a Cambridge Training Event for teachers from all over the United States and England.

• Brooke Walton, who is a senior who will graduate May 18th as a graduate of the S.E.T Academy with a ServSafe Certification. Her favorite volunteering experience was the Halloween Event in Cocoa Village.

Mrs. Christine Kearns is the lead teacher for the SET Academy.  She teaches all of the required courses for this academy and also teaches Cambridge Business studies.  Her favorite volunteering experience was the Chowder Cook Off.

MERRITT ISLAND HIGH PROGRAM LED BY CHARLES PARKER

Charles Parker

Charles Parker

The attending students from Merritt Island High School all volunteered at several community events this year and are led by Charles Parker, who is the Director of the Academy of Hospitality were:

• Abby Cheshire, who will graduate May 17 from Merritt Island High School in the top 7 percent of her class with a GPA of 4.1. Cheshire completed the three-year Academy of Hospitality Management, earning the ServSafe Food Managers Certification and the Academic Excellence in Marketing Award. She has been a member of National Honors Society, Key Club,  and DECA.  As a member of varsity golf – Cheshire received the Award for Athletic Leadership.  She was also a four- year member of the soccer team – District champs and Cape Coast Conference champs – and she earned the Award for Academic Excellence.   Abby honed her leadership skills at the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation. She will be attending the University of South Florida to major in Education or Hospitality.

• Jesseica Carver will graduate from Merritt Island High School May 17 and has completed the three-year Academy of Hospitality Management and has also participated in DECA leadership and competition, SGA, and Young Republicans.  Carver plans to move to Indiana this summer to attend community college and then Purdue University.  She plans to major in Radiation Therapy and work at a radiation oncology site.

Space Coast employment growth was most robust in the tourism and leisure industry with an increase of more than 900 jobs.

Space Coast employment growth was most robust in the tourism and leisure industry with an increase of more than 900 jobs.

• Danielle Doyle will graduate from Merritt Island High School May 17 and completed the three-year Academy of Hospitality Management and also participated in DECA leadership and competition, GSA, and lacrosse.  This year Danielle had the opportunity to intern with The Brevard Schools Foundation; .  Her post-graduation plans include the 2+2 program starting at Brevard Community College, then transferring to a university to major in Criminal Justice Forensic Science. Danielle’s dream is to become a Forensic Scientist to follow in her father’s  footsteps and work for the Las Vegas Metro Police Department.

• Briana Barwick will graduate with honors from Merritt Island High School May 17 and completed the three-year Academy of Hospitality Management and has gained real-world experience in the hospitality industry.  She has been a member of the Mustang softball team and plans to attend BCC and earn her AA degree.

merritt-island-logo-224Jenora Dupree, the director of the Academy of Fine Arts and Multimedia Entertainment (FAME) at Merritt Island High School brought four students:

• Shay Hattaway
• Abbey Conover
• Caitlin Reedy
• Shelby Fletcher

Williamson also cited tourism leaders who assisted with the hospitality programs including Margaret Bodchon, Christy Galszarano, Anna Palermo and Samantha Senger.

TOURISM COUNCIL AWARDS

Rob Varley and Williamson then introduced each of the nominees for the Hospitality Specialist of the Year Award.

Katie Clay of Duran Golf Club was a nominee for Hospitality Specialist Of the Tear

Katie Clay of Duran Golf Club was a nominee for Hospitality Specialist Of the Tear. (Space Coast Daily image)

The Nominees:

• Sandy Abbott, Courtyard By Marriott, Cocoa Beach
• Michael Alverango, Doubletree Suites, Melbourne Beach
• Maria Burks, Victory Casino Cruises
• Sandy Burroughs, Travelynx
• John Byrne, Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place
• Katie Clay, Duran Golf Club
• Michael Ferry, Doubletree by Hilton Cocoa Beach
• Yani Garcia, Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber
• Captain James Georges, Indian River Queen
• Gail Andriani, Hlavenka
• Chiara Negri Kafer, Courtyard By Marriott, Melbourne
• Amanda Ramos, Residence Inn By Marriott, Melbourne
• Sabino Rodriguez, Hilton Melbourne Beach
• Enis Tezcan, International Palms Resort
• Jesse Torrans, Courtyard By Marriott, Cocoa Beach

The winner of the Award was Yani Garcia, Information Specialist with the Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce

Williamson then presented the Tourism Cares Award to Debra Green, General Manager of the Hilton, Cocoa Beach for her volunteer work in raising funds to help homeless students of Brevard.

Jim Ridenour

Jim Ridenour

Jim Ridenour, General Manager of the Courtyard By Marriott, Melbourne, presented the Solomon Portrait of Excellence Award to the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum

FLORIDA TOURISM UPDATE
 

Rob Varley

Rob Varley

TDC Executive Director Rob Varley gave an update on Florida tourism and said that Visit Florida announced indicated that more people visited Florida in the first three months of 2013 than any other quarter in the state’s history.

Visit Florida announced that preliminary numbers show that 26 million visitors came to Florida in January, February and March, which represents an increase of 4.7 percent over the same period in 2012.

Governor Rick Scott announced that according to preliminary estimates released by VISIT FLORIDA, visitors to the Sunshine State spent a record $71.8 billion, an increase of 6.8 percent over 2011. This represents a record year of spending in 2012 by tourists in Florida, exceeding the previous highs of $67.2 billion in 2011 and $65.5 billion in 2007.

Direct travel-related employment in the first quarter of 2013 was also a record high, with 1,087,700 Floridians employed in the tourism industry which is a 3.4 percent increase, adding 35,700 jobs since this time one year ago.

Visit Florida officials say that in 2012 visitation numbers to the state were about 91.4 million – that figure includes 77.6 million domestic visitors, 10.2 million overseas travelers and 3.6 million Canadians.

Governor Rick Scott announced that according to preliminary estimates released by VISIT FLORIDA, visitors to the Sunshine State spent a record $71.8 billion, an increase of 6.8 percent over 2011. This represents a record year of spending in 2012 by tourists in Florida, exceeding the previous highs of $67.2 billion in 2011 and $65.5 billion in 2007.

“Today’s news from VISIT FLORIDA demonstrates  – It’s Working.- Travelers to Florida spent an additional $4.6 billion in 2012, marking the second consecutive record year for visitor spending in the Sunshine State. Florida’s tourism industry is critical to Florida families as it serves as a vital source of revenue to the state and a key driver of employment – and that’s why our Florida Families First Budget commits $75 million to VISIT FLORIDA, so we can better grow jobs and opportunities for Florida families,” said Scott.

VISIT FLORIDA BOOSTS TOURISM

As the state’s official destination marketing organization, VISIT FLORIDA is responsible for serving the citizens of Florida through the growth and development of the tourism industry.

Last year, visitors spent over 500 million vacation nights and nearly $72 billion in the Sunshine State, said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA.

Last year, visitors spent over 500 million vacation nights and nearly $72 billion in the Sunshine State, said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA.

VISIT FLORIDA creates innovative cooperative marketing programs that enhance the industry’s ability to successfully promote the Florida tourism product across the U.S. and around the globe.

Last year, visitors spent over 500 million vacation nights and nearly $72 billion in the Sunshine State, said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA.  While it’s still very early in 2013, all indications are that VISIT FLORIDA is well positioned to build on the previous two years- momentum as we strive to make Florida the No. 1 travel destination in the world.

CLICK HERE to view additional Florida tourism data


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