UCF developing center dedicated to maintaining Central Florida’s ‘tourism health’

ORLANDO, Fla. — There’s an extensive effort underway to protect Central Florida’s tourism industry.

The University of Central Florida and Nemours Children’s Hospital are teaming up to better prepare for Orlando’s future, which includes keeping hospitality employees healthy to keep the city’s tourism industry active.

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It was once hard to imagine anything keeping tourists away from Central Florida, but COVID-19 caught everyone off guard.

“We estimated that losses were in the neighborhood of $40 billion for the economy, so we started looking at how to really make the industry more resilient,” said UCF professor Dr. Robertico Croes.

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UCF put its infectious disease committee to work on that.

Leaders from the Rosen College of Hospitality, the College of Medicine and Nemours Children’s Hospital have been researching what specifically caused the economy to fail during the pandemic, and looking at how they can use that information to secure Orlando’s future.

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They expect to have the results of those surveys, which are based on three major area businesses, by next week.

The goal is to create a center at UCF specifically for “tourism health.” People there would work full-time on maintaining a more resilient tourism industry.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.