Experience Kissimmee Honors Unique Jobs in Osceola County to Celebrate ‘Travel & Tourism Week’
Kissimmee, Fla. (April 28, 2021) – Each year, the U.S. Travel Association recognizes one week for travel and tourism professionals across the country to celebrate the value travel holds for the economy, business, and personal well-being.
With the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism industry continues to show its strength as it works toward recovery. The community has worked together to persevere through a time in which all focus is on health and safety restrictions and enhancements.
Osceola County, Florida – home to Kissimmee – has been recognized as the largest tourism employer in the state of Florida. Prior to the pandemic, in 2017, the county employed 28,516 tourism jobs and tourism-supported economic impact totaled $5.3 billion. While these numbers changed in 2020, tourism jobs still make up a large portion of the county’s workforce.
Experience Kissimmee is celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week (May 2-8, 2021) by recognizing unique tourism jobs throughout the destination.
Discovery Cove may be known for its beautiful dolphins, fish, and many other animals – but there’s so much more to discover. With more than 60 acres to maintain, majority of the landscape manicuring is done by hand. In order to create the perfect habitat for Discovery Cove’s residents, its horticulturists must understand animal habits and needs. This team does it all – from pruning trees in the aviary to maintaining waterways where animals enter in and out, and more.
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
From epic battles of steel and steed to a delicious royal feast, there’s a lot to experience at Medieval Times. But this dinner tournament isn’t unique only to guests – its employees have one-of-a-kind roles.
Christina Carmona, Queen of Medieval Times, shares what makes working for the company so special: “I have the opportunity and absolutely pleasure, as Queen, to help take guests back in time to the Medieval Ages where they can see our beautiful horses and knights in action.”
She says, “As we continue to fight through this pandemic, I feel like my work here allows for people to get away and really enjoy themselves during a time that would otherwise be stressful.”
Fun Spot America – Kissimmee
Behind the scenes, the maintenance workers of Fun Spot truly have a fun job. Their importance to the company is huge, as the Orlando park recently received a complete rehaul with updated tracking to ensure a safer, smoother ride. The team removed every train car from the track and inspected each piece.
Fun Spot Marketing and Communications Manager Molly Chidester says, “Fun Spot was built by a family – with teammates who become like family – working together to celebrate thousands of families from around the world. And all because of the Golden Rule culture.”
There are many jobs at Gatorland, but the most unique of all is caring for the eco-tourism park’s residents. Chrissie Thompson is Gatorland’s Animal Care Supervisor. She helps oversee the animal keepers’ daily tasks, animal feedings, veterinarian visits, and enrichment.
While most of the animals under Chrissie’s care are mammals and birds, she also helps oversee the alligator and crocodilian incubation process. Each year, Gatorland houses dozens of nests with an average of 30 to 40 eggs per nest. Part of Chrissie’s job is to ensure all incubators are operating properly to prepare for the babies’ arrival. After the eggs have hatched and the babies have eaten a few meals, they are moved to Gatorland’s Baby Gator Marsh.
Fantasy World Resort
Kissimmee’s workforce is made up of more than just human employees. At Fantasy World guests are welcomed by animal ambassadors.
Oreo, a back-and-white cat, can be found wandering around the resort. In fact, he became such an icon, the resort named the pool bar after him: Oreo’s Poolside Café. The resort welcomed its second animal ambassador, Bear E. Drooley, a St. Bernard dog. Bear won’t begin work until after his training. The team expects him to start fulfilling his guest greeter duties this summer – though he has already influenced the resort to rename its convenience store to Bear’s Bites and Beverages.
The Fantasy World team says, “We’re very glad we have brought these new hires aboard as they are truly very guest oriented and are exemplary employees.”
Orlando Cat Café
There are even more places to be greeted by animals – such as Orlando Cat Café. Though these animals aren’t on the clock, their caregivers are made up of employees and volunteers who devote their time to finding these cats and kittens their forever homes.
Orlando Cat Café has six employees who work alongside SPCA’s visiting volunteers, all dedicated to successfully placing more than 1,200 cats thus far. Not to mention, the café’s two yoga instructors who lead the Yoga With Kitties class.
Kissimmee’s Recovery Efforts and Community Support
Now more than ever, Kissimmee’s businesses need help to resume the area’s tourism industry. Those looking for work should consider Reunion Resort, River Street Sweets, and City of Kissimmee. Open positions vary in department, level, and experience.
For more information about the U.S. Travel Association’s National Travel and Tourism Week, visit https://www.ustravel.org/events/national-travel-and-tourism-week.
The Experience Kissimmee Story:
Almost 50 years of vacation-making experience. More than 9,000,000 overnight visitors. And closer than the wave-of-a-wand away from world-famous theme parks and attractions, the headwaters of the Everglades, extraordinary natural wonders, and plates for every palate. We’re Experience Kissimmee, the official tourism authority for Osceola County, Florida. (That means we oversee sales and marketing for the destination.) We’re also the Vacation Home Capital of the World®, with more than 70,000 accommodation options, including luxury resorts, family-friendly hotels, and over 50,000 vacation homes.
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Experience Kissimmee Communications Department