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SeaWorld's pearl divers return for summer stint

Tourism bills get Scott's OK

SeaWorld's pearl divers have returned, at least for now.

The longtime pearl diving show was eliminated a few months ago as the company laid off workers and made other cost-cutting moves.

It recently returned for the summer — on a test basis, according to spokeswoman Becca Bides.

The performers started earlier this month and will be around for at least six weeks.

It could be longer, depending on guest response, Bides said.

Falcon's designs Avengers

Orlando-based Falcon's Creative Group is working on the "Avengers: Battle of Ultron" attraction at IMG Worlds of Adventure in Dubai.

The attraction will blend stereoscopic 3D media with an elaborate physical environment and special effects to bring the MARVEL Universe to life.

In addition to the latest Avengers attraction, Falcon's Creative Group has been busy at work with other experiences at IMG Worlds of Adventure.

IMG Worlds of Adventure consists of four themed zones including MARVEL, Cartoon Network, Lost Valley - Dinosaur Adventure and IMG Boulevard. The indoor themed entertainment destination has been master planned by Falcon's Treehouse, including multiple themed retail and food & beverage establishments that make up over 1.5 million square feet of entertainment. IMG Worlds of Adventure is due to open later this year.

Tourism bills get governor's OK

Gov. Rick Scott has signed into law two bills affecting the hospitality and amusement industry.

One of the bills affects the time-share industry. Critics have said it would make it tougher for consumers to get out of time-share contracts. State Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, R-Orlando, is sponsoring the legislation on the House side and Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, is sponsoring it in the Senate.

Another bill is meant to clean up legislation from a couple of years ago that banned Internet cafes but also appears to make certain kids' games illegal. The legislation was sponsored by Stargel and state Rep. Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City.

Wild Florida welcomes lemurs

Wild Florida, a tourist attraction in Osceola County, welcomed two new baby Red-ruffed lemurs just about a month ago.

The twin babies, a boy and girl, bring Wild Florida's lemur total to eight.

The lemurs are categorized as "critically endangered" by the International Union of Conservation Nature, a Switzerland-headquartered global environmental organization.

Orlando's IPW yields records

The U.S. Travel Association's IPW event held in Orlando earlier this month broke several records.

More than 6,500 people attended from 73 countries, according to U.S. Travel officials. Previous years attracted an average of 6,000 people.

The 47th annual event, which took place in Orlando for the seventh time, also had the most pre-scheduled business meetings in the history of the event.

It's set to return in 2022.

Downtown hotel gets LEED Gold

Aloft Orlando Downtown was awarded the LEED Gold certification, the second highest rating awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council.

"LEED Gold certification underscores our efforts to create a healthy atmosphere for our customers and minimize the environmental impact of our development," said William Ingraham, president of GDC Properties, the hotel's developer. "… GDC Properties is proud to be a leader in this field."

LEED ratings are how a building's sustainability is measured. Rankings are certified, silver, gold and platinum. The system promotes designs that reduce a building's environmental impact and improve the health and well-being of its occupants.

The 118-room Aloft received 69 out of a possible 110 points, including high marks in optimized energy performance, reduced water use consumption and access to public transportation.

The hotel used to be the Orlando Utilities Commission headquarters. New York-based GDC Properties bought it in 2011, renovated it and reopened it in 2013.

spedicini@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5240; cdineen@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5414

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