Key Largo Chamber October Legend

October 2021 Vol. 23 No. 272

Why Are Board Elections Important?

better engage with you, the member, who your elected directors hold as the priority. The voting process also develops the board and leadership, utilizes technology, and positively represents the organization in the community. Your confidence in the directors you elect is highly regarded. And when those leaders demonstrate openness to change, members are even more likely to engage. The bylaws of the Key Largo Chamber layout the formal requirements for our elections: • Elections are annually • The voting business membership can cast an absentee ballot or vote in person. • The members must vote on all bylaw amendments. Fair and transparent board election processes promote our organization's general welfare and a positive public image to members and non-members alike. The reasons the board elections are essential to the livelihood of our chamber include: • An occasion to interlock members of the organization. • Grant our members the opportunity to connect with the organization's leadership.

• Current leaders, and potential board members, exhibit their skills and management abilities. • Growing the Key Largo Chamber culturally and productively requires finding good leadership through holding competitive elections. • Board member elections need a high voter turnout to prevent a monopoly of authority while also gaining member's trust in the governance of the organization. This election cycle, we are putting high importance on business-member voter participation. We will keep the elections simple yet effective and efficient to achieve good governance. Please take the time to vote virtually. The online ballot will be emailed on October 15 and voting continues through November 5. Due to COVID restrictions, there will be no in-person voting. Results will be announced at the Annual Members meeting on November 11. • Good governance means leadership being held accountable by the members.

Dennis Caltagirone Chairman of the Board Key Largo Chamber of Commerce

The issues facing the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce are everlasting – growing the membership, development of the board, robust leadership, keeping up with technology, and so much more. These pressing needs for our member-based organization lead to one question: Why is board election important? It is significant because the board election process covers all the issues the Key Largo Chamber faces daily. The election allows our organization to

To learn more about your 2022-2023 board candidates, see page 4.

In This Issue Raschein Sworn In PAGE 2 • Chamber & Visitor Center Hours Change PAGE 3 • Meet Your Board Candidates PAGE 4 Luncheon & Members In Motion PAGE 6 • Calendar PAGE 7 • Why TourismTrends Matter PAGE 10

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Governor Ron DeSantis announced Holly Raschein of Tavernier to fill the District 5 Board of County Commissioners seat. The seat was held by Commissioner Mike Forster, who passed away in September. She was sworn in on Sept. 28 by Deputy Clerk Jennifer Belz with her son, Drake, beside her in Key Largo. Raschein served eight years in the Florida House of Representatives before terming out. “No one will ever fill the shoes of Mike Forster, but I am deeply humbled and grateful for the opportunity to try,” she said. “I have spent my entire adult life serving the Florida Keys, and I will work tirelessly to continue our common fight for a better environment and an even more resilient community.” Raschein has begun working and will be ceremonially sworn in at the regularly scheduled Board of County Commissioners meeting on Oct. 20, 2021. Raschein is the Government Relations Director for AshBritt and a Market Advisor for First State Bank of the Florida Keys. She is a member of the Florida Housing Finance Corporation Board of Directors, Mariners Hospital Foundation Board, Leadership Monroe County Board, and the Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition Board. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida State University and a Master of Public Administration from Florida International University. Due to the amount of time left in Forster’s term, Raschein will serve until a special election can be held in 2022 as part of the regular election cycle next year. The special election winner will serve the remaining two years. Raschein can choose to run in the special election or not. Raschein Sworn in as Commissioner

IS PROUD TO JOIN THE KEY LARGO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE! Founded in 1988, Golden Sands is a national general contractor serving 36 states. We are proud to serve the commercial general contracting needs of the nation’s largest financial institutions, commercial office buildings, corporate interiors, national retailers, one of the Southeast’s primary sports venues, and a steadily growing list of prestigious clients, including Fortune 500 companies, leading U.S. nuclear power utilities and the U.S. Navy. We look forward to continuing to serve the Florida Keys!

Follow Us #BuildingTogether

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Be Seen, Advertise in Destination Key Largo

Beginning October 1, the Key Largo Chamber/Visitor Center will have new hours. We are still open 7 days a week and closed only for major holidays. Our Hours are Changing Visitor Center: Monday – Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Saturday 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and Sunday 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM Both offices are closed on New Year’s Day; Easter Sunday; Memorial Day; 4th of July; Labor Day; Thanksgiving; Christmas Eve closed at 12:00 PM and Christmas Day closed. Hours of the Chamber: Monday – Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

The 2022 Visitor Guide is in development and will be on the streets in January! Over 50,000 copies are disbursed and downloaded each year, with an average of 55% printed going out of the market. We distributed the guide by direct request from potential visitors by mail and at visitor information centers throughout the Keys and disseminated it to locals in the Key Largo market. Deadlines: Reserve advertising space by October 31 Update your information by November 15 15% off if paid by December 1 (All buys include website linked on digital upload)


Florida Keys, Home to 6,000 Patch Reefs

Just Add Water

A Slice of Key Largo History

Sanctuaries, Parks and Refuges Surrounding Key Largo and The Florida Keys

Tips to Protect Yourself from Illegal Vacation Rentals & Scams Come to Key Largo and the Fabulous Florida Keys Cover Photo — Meet Nada Khalaf-Jones our Featured Photographer




To purchase an ad or for more information contact Eileen at (305) 451-1414

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And the Nominees are... Meet Your Chamber Board Candidates

It's that time of the year when we introduce the nominees for the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. This year we have eight open seats. Our election is a requirement that takes place every year. Each director elected serves a two-year commitment and the opportunity to be invited back for another term. New candidates are pursued by our Nomination Committee and approved by the Governance Committee before the board of directors brings the nominees to you, our members. This year we have three current board members seeking to be re- elected and five new candidates who would like to be on the board. candidates in person will take place at the Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort on October 14 at 12:00 PM. If you cannot make the meeting, below is a summary of those seeking to serve on the 2022 and 2023 boards. Directors Leaving the Board: We bid a fond farewell to a few board members whose terms are up and decided not to seek re-election. Mark Charles of the Bungalows Key Largo, Captain Don Fanelli of the Monroe County Sheriff 's, and Wil Pena, a Financial Adviser. The Chamber is forever grateful for the time they served and wishes them all the best. Running for Re-election: Henry Menendez — Owners, HNO Productions: Henry was first appointed to the 2018/19 Board by then Chairman of Meet the Candidates The opportunity to meet the

the board Roberto Alonso and later elected to the 2020/21 Board. He has qualified for 2022/23. Henry operates an event management, production, and marketing company. He currently serves as the Chambers Event Chairman. He and his committee are responsible for the success of the 4th of members and the business community. Henry's commitment to the Chamber is to express and share new ideas to assist our members and the community. Besides being a member of the Chamber, he is also a Rotarian, Board member of Teen Intervention & Prevention Services of the Florida Keys; Past member of the following: Greater Miami Convention & Visitor Bureau, Aventura Marketing Council, Film, Recording, and Entertainment Council & Star Gala Committee member, and Miamblance Magazine. Ruth Schrader-Grace — Owner, Keys Core Fitness: Ruth has served on the Chamber Board since 2018. She has served two terms and seeks election for a third term. Ruth is the proprietor of Keys Core Fitness. She volunteered in 2018 to be the treasure of the Chamber and continues to do so today. Ruth feels the role of the Chamber is to assist in bridging the gaps between business to business and businesses to the consumer. The Chamber should be involved in the infrastructure and the appearance of Key Largo since it is the welcome town for all the Florida Keys and the last thing departing visitors July parade and fireworks. He believes the role of the organization is how it helps the

see. Overall, the Chamber's role is to help businesses be seen and heard. Her commitment to the Chamber is to assist in bringing the Chamber and the community together. Ruth is also a member of the Upper Keys Business and Professional Women's organization. Captain Slate — Owner, Captain Slates Scuba Adventures: Slate served on the Chamber Board many years ago. While serving on the past boards, he was the Chairman for two terms. In 2016 he decided to run for the Chamber Board again and has completed three of the four terms permitted under the bylaws. He sees the Chamber's role as concentrating on bringing more tourists to our destination, as well as festivals, contests, dive events, and fishing. Key Largo, the "Dive Capital of the World," has the perfect opportunity to focus again on the attractions. Slate brings a commitment of leadership and voice for the tour operators and the dedication to protect our fragile environment while focusing on our tourism industry. Captain Slate is a Rotarian, involved with the Tourist Development Council, and the Keys Association of Divers. New Candidates: Angie Alvarez — Branch Manager, Centennial Bank Key Largo: As a community member, Angie wants to see Key Largo grow and prosper but still have that hometown feel. She believes the Chamber is an excellent organization and of great value to helping the community. Angie brings many years of banking experience, and with that background, she can assist navigate through the

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financial services water. Angie feels the role of the Chamber is to help the community grow and prosper through various outlets such as workshops, seminars, or just helping the members advertise. Her commitment to the Chamber is to do her best at all times. To be fair, kind, and always have the best interest of the community at the forefront. Manny Alvarez — Partner of Verdeja De Armas & Trujillo, LLP: Manny (no relation to Angie) is a CPA who has been practicing for approximately 15 years. He specializes in "not-for-profit" organizations. He feels his contribution is best practices and practical solutions to questions that might arise. Manny realizes the role of the Chamber evolves the community and its members. The Chamber should continue promoting the Keys, and assist members and the community impacted by the pandemic. His commitment to the Chamber is to see the Keys community thrive. Manny is on the Key Largo Chamber Governance Committee, Companies/ IT Committee, and the AICPA/FICPA organization. Kevin Donlan — District Manage, Publix Supermarket: Before coming to Key Largo, Kevin was involved with the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce for four years and served as their president. Kevin feels the role of the Chamber is to help promote business growth through partnerships, along with business owners being able to utilize services to drive customers to their business. If chosen for the board, Kevin commits to bringing his leadership skills and work experience to increase the business operations of the members. He also wants to increase the memberships by helping business

owners understand the benefits of being a Chamber member. Henry Quintana — Broker/Owner Henry Quintana Realty Inc.: Henry is a semi-retired broker/ realtor. He has been involved in many boards and organizations throughout his career. His position on the role of the Chamber is to help member businesses and the local community through promotion. Henry's commitment is his many years of being involved in real estate. Being semi-retired, he has more time to be involved and will commit that time to improve the Chamber. Henry is a member of the Keys Board of Realtors, Miami Board of Realtors, The Miami Latin Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Homestead Board of Realtors, past president of the Redland District Lions Club, and member of the Boys Scouts of America (28 years), and Coast Guard Auxiliary (15 years). Rhonda Whitfield — Director of Sales, Baker's Cay Resort Key Largo: Ronda has over 25 years in hospitality with 20 years in the Upper Keys. She has worked closely with the Tourist Development Council, Visit Florida, and local chambers to bring awareness and add value to the Keys. Ronda sees the role of the Chamber as promoting the interest of the members and the local community and advocating for local needs with Monroe County. She feels the Chamber is a source of support helping develop new opportunities for entrepreneurship, education, and training. Another critical aspect of the Chamber's role is to help attract visitors to ensure the members' financial success. Ronda's commitment is her passion that stems from an understanding of the rich and quirky history of the Keys. She understands the need to conserve

our ecosystem while delicately balancing a thriving tourism-based economy. She is also committed to the workforce, access to transportation, and affordable housing while maintaining a peaceful island lifestyle for the long-time residents.

Don't Forget to Vote You participation in the Board of Directors Election matters. Please take the time to vote virtually. The online ballot will be emailed on October 15 and voting continues through November 5. Due to COVID restrictions, there will be no in-person voting. Results will be announced at the Annual Members meeting on November 11.

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Distractions are continuous in the business world. Yet, no one would have imagined the upheaval in 2020 continuing into 2021. There is a lot on the minds of businesses today, and your Chamber wants to hear from you firsthand. On October 14, join in our first Membership Engagement forum and the opportunity to meet the Key Largo Chamber Board Candidates. This forum is your chance to help structure our advocacy, shape our programs and services for maximum benefit to you now and in the future. Preregister now!

Members Luncheon October 14, 2021 12:00 PM

Membership Engagement Forum

Members $ 30.00 pp (Pre-Registration Member Discount) Early Registration Closes October 12 (No Refunds) Late Member Registrations $40.00 pp Non-Member Registrations $ 45.00 pp

Limited Social Distancing Seating Masks Recommended

Register online: Need help with online registration? Call 305.451.1414 : t

Members in Motion October 28, 2021 Tradewinds Plaza 5:30 to 7:30 PM

Anniversary Celebration Hors d'oeuvres & Beverages $10pp Advance Registration $15 at the door – Non-Chamber Members $20 For more information call - 305.451.1414 https://web.keylar r. rg/events

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October 2021 For event details visit









For more information check out our event calendar

Chamber /Visitor Center New Hours of Operation Begin

11:00 AM ROCKtoberfest 6:00 PM 9th Annual Luau For Health








11:00 AM ROCKtoberfest

10:00 AM DAC 5 Meeting

11:00 AM KLCOC Event Committee Meeting






15 Board of Directors Election Begin 3:30 PM KLOCC Governance Meeting


6:00 PM Small Business Finance 101 Workshop

12:00 PM Members Forum & Meet the 2022 Board Candidates 1:00 PM REEF Fest







23 Garden Club of the Upper Keys Yard Sale!

10:00 AM TDC Meeting 6:00 PM

9:00 AM BOCC Meeting 7:00 PM Immerse Yourself: Underwater Photography

12:30 PM KLCOC Government Relations Meeting

Understanding Financial State- ments Workshop








12:00 PM KLCOC Board MTG 5:30 PM Members in Motion Cirque Salon Studios


Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Trustees

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Dennis Caltagirone (2020 – 2022) Chairman Art By Lee 2020 Board of Directors

Roberto Alonso (2020 - 2022) Chairman Elect Borland & Associates Mark Charles (2020 - 2022) Immediate Past Chairman Bungalows Key Largo

Enrique“Henry”Menendez (2020 - 2022) HNO Productions Inc.

Wil Peña (2020 – 2022) Financial Planning Consultant

Stephanie A. Russo (2021 - 2023) Russo Law Office & Sealutions Mediation Company Ruth Schrader-Grace (2020 - 2022) Treasurer Keys Core Fitness

Ilja Chapman (2021 - 2023) Voyage Blue Travel

Kristine Cox (2021 - 2023) Playa Largo Resort & Spa

Spencer Slate (2020 - 2022) Captain Slate’s Scuba Adventures

Don Fanelli (2020 - 2022) Monroe County Sheriff’s Office

Blaine Vernicek (2021 - 2023) The Structure Group

Melissa Fernandez (2021 - 2023) J.A. LaRocco Enterprise Inc & All Keys Concrete, LLC

We are stronger together!

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Why Tourism Trends Matter to Your Business Whatever aspect of the tourism sector your business is involved in, you need to keep your finger on the pulse.

transport, and other services. Allowing contactless

VR is especially useful within the context of COVID, where customers may have second thoughts and may need extra encouragement to press ahead with their plans. Solo Travel: Leisure travel used to be a family affair or something that couples undertook together. While that’s still the case for many, more and more people are choosing to strike out on their own. Enjoying a solo trip is no longer so unusual and tourist trends increasingly reflect this. The needs of solo travelers are diverse. Some simply want to travel without the distraction of a companion. Others are young singles looking for social activities or to find a partner. Some widowed seniors even use long-term hotel stays or cruises as a luxurious alternative to conventional elder care. These tourism trends are set to grow and grow. Eco Travel: Tourism trends are heavily influenced by the concerns and values of the customer base. As a new generation becomes increasingly relevant in the marketplace, the ideals driving their purchasing decisions create new tourism trends. Eco travel is just one example of these tourism trends, reflecting a growing concern among today’s travelers for ethical and sustainable tourism options. Eco travel includes simple changes, such as the availability of carbon credits when booking a flight or the option to rent an electric instead of a conventional

payments has enabled tourism companies to

reduce tension and improve the speed of check-ins and check-outs. It also means goods can be paid for swiftly, encouraging spontaneous purchases. With coronavirus, contactless payments are in greater demand than ever, as staff and customers often prefer to avoid handling cash. Voice Search & Voice Control: With home smart speakers growing in popularity, as well as mobile assistants like Siri, Google Assistant and Bixby, more and more tourism customers are turning to voice search. For those in the tourism industry, it is important to capture these guests by structuring website content properly, so it appears in voice search and allows for voice bookings. Virtual Reality Tourism Trends: Virtual reality is another of the major tourism trends disrupting the industry and capitalizing on the technology can give you an edge over rivals who have not yet adopted it. Through online VR tours, customers can experience hotel interiors, restaurant interiors, outdoor tourist attractions and more, all from their home. Crucially, they are able to do this at the decision- making phase of the customer journey. This can be the difference between customers completing a booking or backing out and

Concepts and products go out of style, to be replaced by more modern elements that end up capturing more of the market. New destinations, new technologies and means of transport have caused major shifts in the industry. Early adoption of new trends is vital. The COVID-19 pandemic placed a focus on hygiene, safety, and local rather than international services, while also accelerating the use of contactless payments and remote working. Meanwhile, environmental concerns have added to the local-first approach of many customers and have given rise to trends related to organic food and eco-travel. It is important to follow the current tourism trends in response to increasing consumer actions as a result of the pandemic. Below, you can see both general developments in hospitality, along with ways that serve as a solution to the coronavirus pandemic and associated shifts in consumer behavior. Safety & Hygiene Tourism Trends: Whether it is airlines, cruises, hotels, restaurants, or bars, since the

outbreak of COVID, safety and hygiene standards have been absolutely paramount. With this in mind, there are a number of tourism trends that are related to this, such as increased cleaning, socially distanced seating, providing hand gel and enforcing masks in some settings. This is a vital part of tourism marketing, with companies needing to make clear what their hygiene and safety policies are and what measures they are taking to keep customers safe. The threat of COVID has meant people are more reluctant to travel and visit tourism hot spots, so they will need to be persuaded that it is safe. Hygiene is the new marketing message. Growth of Contactless Payments: Contactless payments have been a staple when it comes to technology in tourism for some time now, but the emergence of options like Google Pay and Apple Pay has helped to take this to the next level, meaning customers do not even need to carry around a debit card or credit card to pay for meals, hotel stays,



vehicle. More sophisticated examples might include tourism with a volunteer element, perhaps working on a nature reserve or engaging in conservation work. Local Experience: Today’s tourists don’t want to be insulated from the places they visit inside a cultural bubble. They want to engage with and participate in the local culture. From enjoying local cuisine to celebrating festivals and holidays, local experiences are set to become some of the top tourist trends to watch. Personalization: You’re probably familiar with those ads that pop up on social media and certain other websites, ads related This is just one example of personalization. As well as in marketing tourism more effectively, personalization can apply to every aspect of the tourist experience. Today’s consumers expect experiences that closely match their to things you’ve looked at or purchased online. personal preferences, from destinations to accommodation and the kinds of activities they’ll engage in. The more closely an experience can be tailored to a client’s desires and expectations, the more likely they are to return and to use the same service again. Artificial Intelligence (AL): Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly important to the tourism industry. Machine learning technology is now firmly entrenched in the marketing

Healthy and Organic Food: Healthy food and the kind of fare consumed by tourists used to be antonyms in the minds of many travelers, with holidays traditionally representing a chance to break one’s diet and indulge in forbidden treats. Today’s travelers know that delicious and nutritious are not exclusive concepts. Demand for excellent cuisine with a view to better nutrition is driving new tourism trends. The modern tourist wants to know that the food they’re eating is as healthy as it is delicious. The organic food movement is also affecting tourism trends, with more eateries and hotels offering organic options. Other special diets are also represented. Customer Experience 2.0: Of course, the customer experience has always been central to the tourist industry. With new technologies and an ever- broadening array of options for tourists, enhancing the customer experience has never been more vital. In the final analysis, customer experience is what will make or break your business. Fine- tuning the experience can make the difference between creating a loyal repeat customer who boosts your business via word of mouth, and one who drops out at the booking stage. Everything from the web interface where your clients book their trips to the very last day.

of the tourism sector, with AI helping to personalize the experience of finding and booking tours and trips. AI is also increasingly valuable in contexts such as smart hotel rooms, identifying the likely needs of guests and fine-tuning the environment and services to fit the guest’s needs and preferences. Artificial intelligence is finding applications everywhere, from customer service to security. Future AI tourism trends to watch out for might include self- driving vehicles and virtual guides for tourism. Recognition Technology: Recognition technology is one of those increasingly important travel and tourism trends that’s starting to creep into a multitude of different areas. One of the most familiar applications of recognition technology for a frequent traveler is the bank of automatic gates at some borders. The gates are capable of reading the data on the traveler’s passport or ID card and matching it to their face using a camera and facial recognition technology. Recognition technology is one of the big tourism trends in the hospitality industry too, with voice recognition becoming more and more popular as a method of control in smart hotel rooms. Internet of Things (IoT): IoT is relevant to many tourism trends. IoT devices are gadgets equipped with a microprocessor and some form of digital connectivity, allowing them to connect to,

and be controlled from, the internet. IoT devices include heating and cooling systems, entertainment systems and other items often found in a hotel room, giving rise to “smart” hotel rooms. The IoT is also used to integrate services in a hospitality setting, for example by allowing guests to book activities (a session in the hotel’s spa, swimming in the pool, training in the gym etc) or request such things as room service or extra linen via a hub or a smartphone application. Augmented Reality (AR): Where AR simulates entire environments and experiences, augmented reality combines real-world experiences and virtual elements. A familiar example would be the smartphone game Pokémon Go, where imaginary creatures are superimposed on real- time footage of the player’s environment. In the tourist industry, this is obviously smartphone apps can show tourists information about the area they’re exploring. This could be historical details about buildings and landmarks, or listings and menus for entertainment venues and local eateries. Museums make increasing use of AR, allowing visitors to view artefacts with their original appearance as a virtual overlay. Other augmented reality applications might include internet-enabled virtual maps. very useful: instead of fantasy monsters. AR

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Key Largo Chamber of Commerce 106000 Overseas Highway

Key Largo, FL 33037

Mission Statement of the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Creating a vibrant business and community environment



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