America's top spot for July Fourth travel is also attracting more direct flights from international destinations.
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FROM THE PRESIDENT & CEO
Orlando: America’s Top July 4th Travel Spot and a Growing Destination for International Visitors
A record number of Americans will travel this July Fourth weekend, and it comes as no surprise that Orlando is once again AAA’s top-booked destination. As you’ll see in the story below, our research at Visit Orlando confirms this demand.
But did you know that Orlando’s popularity continues to soar among international travelers too?
New nonstop flights from several carriers have helped fuel 16.8 percent year-to-date growth in international traffic at Orlando International Airport, compared to the same period last year. Last week, the airport also announced new seasonal service to Buenos Aires, the second-largest metropolitan area in South America.
More direct international flights are key to our efforts at Visit Orlando to ensure our position as one of America’s leading destinations for inbound travel. And these recent developments further build on the strong gains that we saw in international visitation, especially from Mexico, Brazil and other Latin America countries, in 2018.
Add it all up, and Orlando definitely has cause for celebration. Happy Independence Day, everyone!
President & CEO
RESEARCH & INSIGHTS
Fourth of July Bookings Up 6%; TDT Collections Also Rise
Advance bookings for Orlando hotels over the Fourth of July weekend are nearly 6% ahead of the same time last year, and Orlando International Airport is also estimating a 4.2% increase in passenger volume. Falling on a Thursday, the holiday kickstarts the weekend a day early and is supporting strong booking levels Friday and Saturday nights.
Tourist Development Tax collections for Orange County rose 4.7% in May, compared to the same month last year. The county recorded $22.6 million from the tax, which is charged to overnight visitors.
VISIT ORLANDO ACTIVITIES
Aguel Earns Spot on
‘50 Most Powerful’ List
Once again, Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel has been named among the “50 Most Powerful People in Orlando,” as chosen by Orlando Magazine. Other Top 50 leaders in the tourism and transportation
space include Harris Rosen, president & COO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts; George Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort; Tom Williams, chairman & CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts; Laura Kelley, executive director of the Central Florida Expressway Authority; and Phil Brown, CEO of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. Photo by Roberto Gonzales
Targets Key Markets
Visit Orlando continued its travel industry sales roadshow in key Brazilian cities this month, hosting a destination training and marketplace in Santos City alongside theme park partners and tour operators. More than 300 travel professionals also attended a training session in Rio de Janeiro, where Visit Orlando and our partners promoted special airline packages and attractions across the destination.
Careers in Hospitality
On June 26, Visit Orlando presented to 40 high school students from across the U.S. as part of the annual Camp Pineapple at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. The weeklong career exploration program teaches students about the tourism industry through firsthand experiences at some of Orlando’s top attractions and hospitality venues. After learning about tourism’s widespread economic impact and Visit Orlando’s role in marketing our destination, the students toured Orlando’s Official Visitor Center and took part in an educational scavenger hunt.
Two Large Conventions
Draw Over 100K at OCCC
More than 60,000 beauty professionals flocked to Orlando June 1-3 for the largest beauty show in the United States. Premiere Orlando, which serves as an epicenter for all things salon and spa, boasts the largest exhibit floor in the industry, featuring more than 850 exhibitors. The following week, InfoComm
brought more than 44,000 attendees to the Orange County Convention Center for the largest audiovisual tradeshow in the U.S. These two conventions combined generated nearly $200 million in economic impact for our destination. Premiere Orlando will return to Orlando in 2020, and InfoComm will return in 2021.
Mayor Dyer Touts
Mayor Buddy Dyer delivered his 2019 State of the City address to an audience of more than 1,000 government officials and business executives, including Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel, on June 24 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Dyer reflected on our city’s recent accomplishments and promised to reinvent Orlando into a “future-ready city,” highlighting Orlando International Airport’s plans for harnessing solar energy as a prime example.
Orlando Featured in
Major Atlanta Outlet
Visit Orlando's publicity team secured coverage in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reaching 2.7 million impressions. The article, “5 Reasons to Visit Orlando Without the Kids,” is a result of a recent destination orientation, and featured Visit Orlando members such as The Morse Museum and The Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour.
Aguel Tours Largest
African Bronze Collection
Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel enjoyed an educational tour of the 16,000-square-foot Bronze Kingdom art gallery July 1. With more than 2,000 pieces, Bronze Kingdom is the largest African bronze collection in the world. Pictured: Iantress Bennett, owner of Bronze Kingdom, alongside Kristen Darby, Visit Orlando’s senior vice president of membership and support services, and George Aguel.
What’s New in 2019
Want a dynamic, eye-catching (and easy) way to show your customers all the major new attractions in Orlando this summer? Point them to our “What’s New in 2019” video, now available on YouTube! You’re welcome to share the 1-minute clip, as you see fit.
Airport’s Ticket Lobby Expansion
Nominated for Architectural Award
A project by CTH+ Associates, the architectural firm of former Visit Orlando board member C.T. Hsu, has been nominated for “Florida’s Favorite Building” in the 2019 American Institute of Architects’ People Choice Awards. The firm’s ticket lobby expansion at Orlando International Airport incorporates new technology and check-in facilities. Voting is open through July 26.
IN THE NEWS
Virgin Trains Breaks Ground in Orlando
High-speed train will connect Orlando International Airport to South Florida. Read More
Orlando Sanford Airport Gets $4.5M Upgrade
Funds will renovate existing taxiways, expand runway and add airfield signs. Read More
UCF’s Rosen College Ranked No. 5 in World
Academic Ranking of World Universities lists top schools for hospitality & tourism. Read More
Universal’s Surfside Inn Adds 750 Rooms on I-Drive
Beach-themed hotel offers affordable options for families. Read More
Margaritaville’s Waterpark Now Open
Island H20 Live! opened June 21 and features 20 water attractions. Read More
VISIT ORLANDO EVENTS
Wednesday, July 17
Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
Noon to 1 p.m.
Learn how to grow your business and connect with clients while enjoying lunch at Fogo de Chao. Join us as Visit Orlando team members share the many advantages to participating in events such as tradeshows, sales missions and much more. Register here.