Business Briefs: Tourists spent record amount in Florida

March 9, 2013 

Tourists visiting the Sunshine State spent more money last year than ever before.

Gov. Rick Scott said on Thursday that visitors spent a record $71.1 billion in 2012. That's a nearly 7 percent increase over 2011 which was also a record year.

The preliminary spending figures were compiled by Visit Florida, the state's quasi-public marketing arm.

Visits Florida has already estimated that nearly 90 million people visited the state in 2012. That included 10.2 million overseas visitors and 3.6 million Canadians.

Tourism is one of Florida's most important economic drivers with more than 1 million people employed in a variety of industry-related jobs.

Scott is asking state legislators to set aside $75 million in this year's budget for Visit Florida to pay for its marketing and advertising efforts.

Realtor officers and board members named

Pat Baker was named Realtor of the Year as the leadership for the Manatee Association of Realtors leadership gathered in Lakewood Ranch to take the Oath of Office in front of over 100 fellow Realtors, Business Partners and friends.

The following were sworn in as the Manatee Association of Realtor's 2013 Officers:

Deeana Atkinson, President, Coldwell Banker; Sherry Richardson, President-Elect, Re/Max Alliance Group; Gloria Weed, Vice President,, Michael Saunders & Co.; Linda Formella, Secretary, Keller Williams Realty of Manatee; Greg Owens, Treasurer, Keller Williams on the Water.

The following members were sworn in as MAR's 2013 Directors: Nancy Allen, Wagner Realty; Peggy Christ, Re/Max Alliance Group; Ken Clanton, Wagner Realty; Maryann Lawler, Keller Williams Realty; Jim Wolcott, Keller Williams Realty; Rita Smith, Coldwell Banker; Leslie Wells, Immediate Past President, Leslie Wells Realty.

In addition, special recognition awards were presented to Greg Owens, 2012 Distinguished Service. Sherri Spanos was presented with the Business Partner of the Year Award. The Community Service Award was presented to Rita Smith. The President's Award was presented to Debbie Roth. A special "Rising Star" Award was given to Echo Belser. The "Good Neighbor" Award was presented to Nikki Gordon.

IHOP to offer deals at its State Road 64 restaurant

IHOP Restaurants will celebrate its newest location in Bradenton March 11 through 17 with specials, fun and prizes. The chain will hold its ribbon cutting ceremony on March 14,

The chain opened its newest location in January at 6320 State Road 64 East in Bradenton. The restaurant hired more than 90 employees and is now open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, seven days/twenty-four hours a day.

IHOP offers a complete

menu all day, as well as a senior menu.

IHOP Restaurants in Florida and Southern Georgia support local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals as their chosen charity and have raised almost a million dollars for them in 2012 and 2013.

-- Herald staff and wire reports

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