Florida’s Space Coast Celebrates Record-setting Tourism


May 17, 2018

Hospitality workers honored at annual Tourism Luncheon

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA –Florida’s Space Coast – which includes the destinations Cocoa Beach, Port Canaveral, Melbourne and the beaches, Palm Bay, Titusville and Viera – celebrated record-setting results at the annual Tourism Luncheon.  The Tourist Development Council (TDC) also announced the recipients of the 2018 Hospitality & Tourism Awards

Francesca Joseph with the Courtyard Marriott in Melbourne was recognized as the 2018 Hospitality Specialist of the Year. Francesca has been the Laundry Attendant for eleven years at the Melbourne Courtyard by Marriott.  Julie Braga, Assistant General Manager, says Francesca has hospitality in every fiber of her being. Because of her dedication and experience, linen service at the hotel is handled in-house and not contracted out. Thousands of pounds of laundry are cleaned each day under her direction.

Commander of the 45th Space Wing and Director of the Eastern Range at Patrick Air Force Base, Brigadier General Wayne Monteith was awarded this year’s “Solomon Portrait of Excellence”.  This award celebrates outstanding community leadership which positively impacts tourism.  General  Monteith was honored for leading more than 13,000 military, DOD civilian and contractor personnel responsible for the processing and launching of U.S. government and commercial satellites from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Eric Garvey, Director of Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism, stated, “General Monteith has been a tremendous partner by establishing strong communication and connections with the local community so we can appreciate and celebrate each and every rocket launch from the Space Coast.”

Also recognized at the annual tourism luncheon was Jim Ridenour, recently retired General Manager of Melbourne’s Courtyard by Marriott and the Residence Inn.  Ridenour has announced his retirement and brings a close to eleven years of service on the Tourist Development Council. In his heartfelt speech, he thanked the past and present  County Commissioners  Nancy Higgs, Helen Voltz, Mary Bolin Lewis and Curt Smith for his  appointments to the TDC;  and personal thanks to Tom Williamson and Tom Hermansen with Ocean Partners for being mentors and strong supporters of all his efforts.

U.S. Congressman Bill Posey recognized Mr. Ridenour with a letter of appreciation and commendation for his service to not only the tourism industry but his military and community service as well. The letter was read by David Jackson, assistant to Representative Posey.

The annual Space Coast Office of Tourism Luncheon is held each year in partnership with the U.S. Travel community to celebrate the value travel holds for our economy, businesses and personal well-being.  It is a tradition to reflect on the success of the industry and to thank our hospitality professionals for working together to promote growth for the future.


Bonnie King
Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism