of a decade of steady annual increases,
Florida, according to preliminary estimates, posted a loss in
visitor arrivals during 2001 when it welcomed some 69.8 million, a
decrease of 4% vs. 2000. The largest decline occurred during the
fourth quarter, following the terrorist attacks. Some 14 million
came to the state then, a decrease of 19% vs. the same quarter of
PLAY BALL! The Florida Spring Training Guide
2002 is off the press. This free reference tool can be used to
extend or enhance the stay of individual and group clients who are
also baseball fans while they visit Florida during March. Twenty
teams train in the Sunshine State: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore
Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians,
Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, Kansas City
Royals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, Montreal Expos, New
York Mets, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh
Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Texas Rangers
and Toronto Blue Jays. For a copy of the guide, contact the Florida
Sports Foundation, 2390 Kerry Forest Pkwy., Suite 101, Tallahassee,
Fla. 32309; phone, (850) 488-8347.
IN RELATED NEWS, Citysearch, a service operated
by TicketMaster that provides online city guides through its Web
site www.citysearch.com, selected the following as the Top
5 Grapefruit League Ballparks in Florida, based on criteria that
included family environment, food selection and food quality. The
choices are Chain O'Lakes, Winter Haven (Cleveland Indians); City
of Palms, Fort Myers (Boston Red Sox); Holman Stadium-Dodgertown,
Vero Beach (Los Angeles Dodgers); Joker Merchant Stadium, Lakeland
(Detroit Tigers); and Legends Field, Tampa (New York Yankees).
GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE'S annual Scuba Month in
May will be anchored by OceanFest, May 17 to 19, in
Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. Highlights include dive-related seminars.
Among them will be a presentation by Jean-Michael Cousteau.
oceanographer and environmentalist. Other festival activities are
the Dive Trade Show, an underwater photo contest and a treasure
hunt. For information on the event, call (800) 327-8150 or visit
the Web site, www.oceanfest.com. For related dive and accommodation
packages, call (800) 22-SUNNY, or view the Greater Fort Lauderdale
Convention & Visitors Bureau Web site, www.sunny.org.
VANGUARD AIRLINES will inaugurate one daily
nonstop to Orlando starting April 22 out of its hub in Kansas City,
Mo. The carrier offers introductory fares from $99 each way. For
information, call (800) 826-4827.
A CONVENTION CENTER with 250,000 square feet of
exhibit space and 37,500 square feet of meeting space was
recommended for Kissimmee-St. Cloud, in a study commissioned by
Osceola County. As a result, the county government will begin
looking for a developer to design and construct the facility,
expected to cost $100 million. The study recommended that a midsize
convention center be part of a mixed-use project that would include
a 600- to 800-room headquarters hotel and parking for 3,000 cars.
The study was undertaken by Conventional Wisdom Corp. and C.H.
A 350-SUITE Residence Inn by Marriott opened in
Orlando, within a half-mile of SeaWorld.
UNIVERSAL ORLANDO'S interim president and chief
operating officer Robert K. (Bob) Gault Jr., who was took over the
post last November, will now continue in that position permanently,
according to Tom Williams, chairman and chief executive officer of
Universal Studios Recreation Group. Before November, Gault had been
executive vice president for operations planning for Universal's
ANOTHER MALL is coming to Orlando -- the 1.2
million-square-foot Mall at Millenia -- at the Interstate 4/Conroy
Road exit. Opening Oct. 18, the two-level, 150-shop facility will
have as anchor tenants Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus. It
also will offer a multilingual information center, a currency
exchange service and dining (from a food court to upscale).