Business Briefs: Florida tourism boom in 1Q of 2013

May 16, 2013 

ST. PETERSBURG -- State tourism officials say that more people visited Florida in the first three months of 2013 than any other quarter in the state's history.

Visit Florida announced Wednesday that preliminary numbers show that 26 million visitors came to Florida in January, February and March.

It's an increase of 4.7 percent over the same period in 2012.

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. That's 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.

Wreath-laying ceremony scheduled for May 22

PORT MANATEE -- The Port Manatee Propeller Club will commemorate National Maritime Day on May 22 with a wreath laying ceremony at 10 a.m.

Propeller Club members and the general public will join to honor seafarers who sacrificed their lives for the maritime industry. Speakers include Lieutenant Commander Andre Whidbee of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg; Tim Rocklein, president of the Sarasota-Manatee Council of the Navy League of the United States; Richard Arcand of the American Merchant Marine Veterans; and Carol Whitmore, chairman of the Manatee County Port Authority. Mike Burton, president of the Port Manatee Propeller Club, and Tim Huppert, executive director/chaplain of Port Manatee's Anchor House, will also speak.

The United States Congress created National Maritime Day in 1933 to recognize the sacrifices made by domestic seafarers and the U.S. merchant marines. Over the years, this date has evolved to include a day of education and public awareness for the public to better understand the importance of safe, secure and efficient international trade and the roles played by the nation's ports.

CareerEdge hires development director

CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, the regional workforce investment initiative serving Manatee and Sarasota counties, has hired David Auxier as Program and Development Director.

Auxier will focus on developing workforce training programs and partnerships, as well as on key growth and capacity-building efforts for the organization.

Auxier served for six years as director of workforce solutions at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, and for more than three years prior to that as assistant director. During his time at SCF, Auxier worked directly with CareerEdge, assisting in the development of job-readiness programs

for low-skilled and unemployed individuals, as well as with initiatives in the healthcare and manufacturing sectors.

Most recently, Auxier was director of international relations at Santa Barbara Business College in California, where he was instrumental in the development of the college's department of international relations.

-- Herald staff and wire reports

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