August 17, 2007
Have you seen the billboards that say: "You should see the state you’re in"? I think they’re right. Florida is one of the most diverse states in the country, from the historic sites near my home in Pensacola to the marinas in Key West, from the sports facilities to the symphonies.
From January through March of this year, 22.8 million people chose to visit Florida. Almost all of them visited our licensees—the hotels and restaurants across the state. I recently had lunch with Bud Nocera, the executive director of FLA USA, and we talked about the impact of the hospitality industry on Florida’s economy.
In 2006, the total spending by tourists was $65.0 billion, the total sales tax revenue generated by tourists was $3.9 billion, and the total number of Floridians employed in the tourism industry was 964,700. The major type of lodging used by domestic visitors was hotels, motels or bed and breakfasts (47.5%), and the average length of stay for domestic visitors to Florida was 5.2 nights, all according to FLA USA.
Our job at DBPR is to make sure that Florida’s restaurants and lodging establishments are safe for Florida’s residents and visitors, and we have a great team of inspectors who are responsible for conducting those inspections. Our team continues to win major accolades. The Food and Drug Administration has outlined nine standards for food safety inspectors, and our team has met four of the nine—placing Florida’s program among the top in the nation.
You can see their work online, too. If you go to
https://www.myfloridalicense.com/insptermsofUse.asp, you can review restaurant and hotel inspections from across the state. Our team is charged with inspecting premises for a variety of things, and they place a major emphasis on handwashing, food temperatures and food handling practices. We also examine such areas as food equipment and utensils, food protection, and garbage and refuse disposal.
Keeping the public safe is one of the major challenges for any regulatory agency, and since the hotels and restaurants have such a major economic impact on our state, we are committed to ensuring that they meet the high standards established by the Legislature and the Food and Drug Administration.
And that’s the state we’re in.
Department of Business and
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
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