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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

As post-pandemic business travel comes back, experts say Florida's reopening policies should allow it to lock in a significant share of returning corporate events and meetings.

Why it matters: There's a lot of money to be made — with a lot of people itching to travel — after the sector lost $97 billion in spending last year, according to a new Tourism Economics analysis by the U.S. Travel Association.

What's happening: Concerns are still lingering around conferences and big business events, despite rising vaccination rates and falling case numbers nationwide.

  • Leisure travel will reach 99% of its pre-pandemic peak by 2022, the analysis shows, but business travel isn't expected to fully recover until 2024 at the earliest.
  • On a conference call Tuesday, travel industry leaders blamed America's patchwork of restrictions and reopening plans for that lag.
  • "Anywhere that's been open longer is benefitting from more travel," said Chris Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton.

How it's playing in Tampa: Five of the 15 events scheduled at the Tampa Convention Center between June and October are moving from other locations, reports the Business Observer of Florida.

  • Those include the National Conference of Legislators (from Chicago), the American Academy of Dermatology (from New York) and the Teen Action Summit (from Washington, D.C.).

The bottom line: Those five events are expected to bring an additional $8.6 million in economic impact to the area from 10,600 visitors and 24,254 room nights, according to convention center figures.

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Go deeper

Updated 10 mins ago - Sports

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo

Czech 42nd-ranked Marketa Vondrousova (L) shakes hands with Japan's Naomi Osaka after their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women's singles third round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on Tuesday. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Of note: Japan's Osaka is the women's world No. 2, while is Vondrousova ranked No.42.

Drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

Kayakers at a boat launch ramp Page, Arizona, on July 3, which was made unusable by record low water levels at Lake Powell as the drought continues to worsen near. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Two significant U.S. lakes, one of which is a major reservoir, are experiencing historic lows amid a drought that scientists have linked to climate change.

What's happening: Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the U.S., has fallen 3,554 feet in elevation, leaving the crucial reservoir on the Colorado River, at 33% capacity — the lowest since it was filled over half a century ago, new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data shows.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2018. Photo: Pyeongyang Press Corps/Pool/Getty Images

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resume previously suspended communication channels between the two countries.

Why it matters: The resumption of the hotline on Tuesday comes despite stalled negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang on the denuclearization of North Korea, which broke down after a second summit between then-President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without a deal in 2019.

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