Featured Event

Celebrating Travel and Tourism

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On Tuesday, Visit Orlando featured a Facebook LIVE stream of an exclusive sneak preview of the new Rivers of Light show coming this summer to Disney's Animal Kingdom. The preview includes a 5-minute snippet of the show, along with words from Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde. The post received 110K impressions and 15.6K video views within the first 12 hours.

Visit Orlando Events

April 28
Business Referral Group

The Whiskey
7563 West Sand Lake Road
Cost: $15 inclusive
Click here to RSVP.

May 2
Tourism Week Luncheon
Presented by Apex by Sunglass Hut
Hilton Orlando
Click here to register
Click here for sponsorship benefits

May 5
Member Orientation
Click here to register.

Member Presents
Members interested in targeting the meetings and convention market can present their products or services during monthly, 30-minute sessions with Destination Services. Click here to schedule a session.

Member-to-Member Offers

CF Photography is offering a free two-hour photography shoot. Includes image editing, direct link to private on-line viewing gallery, hi-resolution images for printing, and low-resolution images for on-line posting. Contact Chris Figueroa at 718-872-8741 to schedule. The terms and conditions apply.


Masterful Wine Events is offering Visit Orlando members 10 percent off the regular prices of wine, beer and spirit tastings. The venue located in the Church Street Historic District hosts up to 40 people while larger groups can be accommodated in the venue located across the street. Tastings and classes can be designed as spouse entertainment, team building (structured as a competition) or as an enhancement to a dinner or cocktail reception. Tastings can also be held at trade show booths, which has doubled traffic for past clients. To reserve your tasting, call 407-906-8622 and mention Visit Orlando.

Florida HIA (Hospitality Industry Association) is offering a $5 discount off membership to Visit Orlando members and their employees ($30 regular). Florida HIA is the only tourism benefits provider for Visit Florida and many other DMOs. With more than 400 hospitality discounts around the state, it's time for your own Florida getaway. Valid till May 31, 2016. Click here to apply.


Holiday Inn Club Vacations® At Orange Lake Resort is more than a stay - it's a place to play. Enjoy seven swimming pools (including a lazy river-style pool and waterslides), mini golf courses, arcades, four golf courses, tennis courts, an 80-acre lake with plenty of watersports, fun zone and more. Visit Orlando members save up to 10% off your stay. Call 407-477-7029 to reserve your stay. Offer expires June 30, 2016.

Orlando City Soccer Club would like to extend discounted group tickets to Visit Orlando members through Oct. 24, 2016. Click here to download information on group pricing discounts. Contact Christopher Benavides at cbenavides@orlandocitysc.com or call 407-480-4762 for more information.

Sammy Duvall Watersports, located behind Disney's Contemporary Resort, is proud to offer Visit Orlando members 10 percent off all water activities (parasailing, personal watercrafts, wake boarding, water skiing and more) now through Dec. 31, 2016. To claim this offer, call 407-939-0754 or email reservations@sammyduvall.com, and mention the offer code "visitorlando10" when booking.

ALL4 ONE SPORTS would like Visit Orlando members to experience Bubble Soccer. Enjoy a one-hour party rental at Soccer XL Indoor Soccer Complex for 10 players. Bump the competition and blow off some steam. To redeem this $400 offer, call 386-624-4084 or email all41sports41@gmail.com, and mention the offer code BUMP when booking.

Industry Events

VISIT FLORIDA is currently accepting Committee Applications for its 2016-17 fiscal year (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017). To learn more about VISIT FLORIDA Committees, their value to the industry or to apply to serve on a committee, click here.

Community Events

April 30
Dancing on the Drive
Along Edgewater Drive in College Park

May 1
Taste at I-Drive 360
I-Drive 360

jazz greats

May 8-12
Invictus Games 2016
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

May 20
Boys & Girls Club "Celebrate the Children"
Orlando World Center Marriott

jazz greats

May 20
Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter
Dr. Philips Center for the Performing Arts

May 21
Runway to Hope Spring Fashion Soiree
Rosen Shingle Creek

May 21
24th Annual Chef's Gala
Epcot® World Showplace

Through June 5
Behind Closed Doors: The Collection

Art & History Museums - Maitland, Maitland Historical Museum

June 2-4
Hispanic Chamber Business Conference & Expo Revisited
Orange County Convention Center - North Concourse

June 11
100 Black Men of Orlando Scholarship Dinner
Rosen Centre Hotel

Through Aug. 31
Conversations: Selections From the Permanent Collection
Cornell Fine Arts Museum 

Focus Exhibition: Tiffany Studios' Daffodil Reading Lamp
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

Louis Comfort Tiffany's Laurelton Hall
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

Permanent Collection of Earl Cunningham Paintings
The Mennello Museum of American Art

Revival and Reform-Eclecticism in the 19th-Century Environment
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

Inside/Out: Steel, Paper, Bronze
The Mennello Museum of American Art

Connect With Visit Orlando

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Be sure to follow us at @VisitOrlando on Instagram and Twitter, fan us at facebook.com/VisitOrlando or watch us at YouTube.com/VisitOrlando for more insider information about the world's most famous destination!

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President & CEO's Message

April 21, 2016

A Celebration Not to Be Missed!

George AguelFresh off a live broadcast from the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit, Peter Greenberg is now set to speak at Visit Orlando's Travel & Tourism Luncheon on May 2 at Hilton Orlando. The industry insider and CBS News Travel Editor will give us a glimpse into the latest travel trends and this year's Summit highlights. As an Emmy Award-winning reporter and best-selling author, Greenberg shines a light on the business of tourism and how the headlines we read effect the visitors we welcome.

Not only will we enjoy the unique perspective of this world-leader in travel, we will discuss the incredible growth our destination has enjoyed — growth like the March occupancy rates that show Orlando leading not only the state, but the nation as well. You can read more about this latest information in the Research section below.

As travel professionals, we have watched Orlando rise to a global destination of choice and witnessed how the success of this industry has made our community even stronger. Join us to celebrate another successful year of tourism at Visit Orlando's May Luncheon. It will be an opportunity for you to network with your peers in the industry and be among the first to know where our destination is headed in the future. I'd like to personally invite you to make your plans to attend and register today. I look forward to seeing you there.

—George Aguel

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From the Research & Insights Desk of Visit Orlando

Orlando Occupancy Tops State & Nation in March

Metro Orlando occupancy in March was 86.9 percent, surpassing the occupancy rates for Florida (83.1 percent) and the nation (66.4 percent). However, occupancy was down 1.5 percent from March of last year. The state (-0.8 percent) and nation (-0.4 percent) also declined versus prior year. Occupied room nights (aka demand) was down 1.5 percent versus prior year. Orlando's average daily rate rose 7.4 percent to $136.27. Through the first quarter of 2016, demand is down 0.6 percent while ADR is up 6.4 percent.

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Visit Orlando Updates


Orlando Message Reaches Across the Globe

This week, tens of millions of radio listeners across the globe are being romanced with the thought of a vacation escape to sunny Orlando by their favorite radio personalities. Hosted by Visit Orlando, on-air personalities representing 16 radio stations from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Brazil are conducting live radio broadcasts from the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, showcasing the region's theme parks, shopping, entertainment and eco adventures. The broadcasts are extensions of integrated marketing campaigns within each country. In addition to the radio personalities sharing their exciting experiences during their time in Orlando, listeners have a chance to win their own vacation to Orlando. Shown, above: The radio broadcasters enjoying Universal Studios Orlando, one of many destination venues featured during their live broadcasts.


Brazil's Universo Online Showcases Titanic Exhibit

UOL, Brazil's largest online content producer with more than 32 million unique visitors per month, recently featured Orlando's Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition exclusively on its home page. (Coincidentally, the coverage aired on April 14, exactly 104 years after the sinking.) The article covered everything from the museum's impressive replicas, such as the grand staircase, and the "extreme low temperatures" of the ship's control room, to stories of the "upper and lower class" families aboard the ship, as told by a Molly Brown impersonator. The article also features 15 photos of the museum. This exclusive story is the result of a Brazilian press trip hosted by Visit Orlando last month.


Colombia's RCN TV Spotlights Downtown's Nightlife

RCN TV broadcasted its fifth television segment featuring nightlife in Orlando. Colombia's RCN Television, which filmed and broadcasted a series of segments for its show "Viaja Por El Mundo con Cris Hurtado", showcased the host enjoying a live show at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, as well as dining, dancing and entertainment at various venues in downtown Orlando. The segment was also posted on RCN's website and the network's social media channels, with an overall reach of 2.2 million viewers.

Destination Featured in Top Canadian Media

As a result of a press trip Jan. 20-22, freelancer Jim Byers featured Orlando in a round-up of top U.S. destinations this summer that are affordable. The coverage ran this week in 70-plus Sun Media publications to a combined audience of more than 7.3 million.


UK vlogers

U.K. YouTube Stars Vlog in Orlando

On April 20, Visit Orlando welcomed six U.K. YouTube vloggers in town for the Playlist Live Orlando 2016 convention (April 22-24 at the Orlando Center World Marriott) to explore the destination. Doug Armstrong, Chai Cameron, Amelia and Grace Mandeville, Laura Payne and Niki Albon (pictured above from left) spent Wednesday exploring and filming a variety of Orlando attractions and dining and entertainment venues, including Wild Florida, Fun Spot America Theme Parks Orlando, SLATE, I-Drive 360, Tapa Toro Tapas Bar & Paella Pit and Tin Roof. Combined, the vloggers have a total potential audience of nearly 1 million.

M&C Highlights Orlando in Destination Guides

As a result of a Visit Orlando meetings media familiarization tour in February, Meetings & Conventions magazine senior editor Lisa Grimaldi produced a three-page story on all that's new in Orlando. The Destination Guides article mentions the destination's top chefs like Kathleen Blake from The Rusty Spoon, hotel renovations and new nightspot openings like Mango's Tropical Café. The story produced 50,000 views for print and 72,000 for online, with 175k page views.


Public Relations Team Hosts U.K. Media Breakfast

The Visit Orlando U.K. Public Relations Team, in conjunction with its theme park partners, hosted a media breakfast in London on April 14 for consumer outlets. Attendees included journalists from Prima, Hello, Chat, Star, Marie Claire, Essentials, Huffington Post, High Life and Red Bulletin. The morning was extremely successful, with informative presentations from all the parks and a variety of potential opportunities discussed.


Visit Orlando/James Beard Scholarships Available

Visit Orlando, in partnership with the James Beard Foundation, is pleased to offer three scholarships of $2,500 each to aspiring culinary professionals. Applicants must be a resident of Florida, have earned a high school diploma or equivalent, and be enrolled or planning to enroll in a program of culinary arts, hospitality management, or food and wine studies at either the University of Central Florida or Valencia College. Application forms are available here. All scholarship application materials must be postmarked by May 15, 2016.

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News About Orlando


Next Week at the Convention Center

Group Meeting Start End Estimated Attendees Estimated Economic Impact
Vision Star Entertainment, Inc. Europa Games & Get Fit Expo April 29 April 30 15,000 $1,733,600
Florida Region of USA Volleyball, Inc. 2016 Florida Volleyball Challenge April 29 May 1 23,000 $1,841,950
The American Association of Orthodontists American Association of Orthodontists April 30 May 3 16,000 $31,520,000

digital now

Hyatt Regency Orlando Welcomes digitalNow

digitalNow 2016, the premier summit for association leaders, is being held at Hyatt Regency Orlando this week (April 21-23). During the summit, critical issues facing association leaders are discussed, bringing together CEOs and volunteer leaders from the most influential professional, non-profit and trade associations in the country. Shown, above: Katie Satava, marketing coordinator for Hyatt Regency Orlando (second from right) is hosting the press group, including (from left): Ashley St. John, Association Forum; Barbara Palmer, Convene; Betsy Bair, MeetingsNet; Emily Howard, Association Trends; and Jennifer Juergens, Visit Orlando.


Disability Chamber Helps Vets On Road to Success

The Central Florida Disability Chamber's (CFDC) 10-week Veterans Business Initiative IV Spring Program for military veterans and their spouses seeking entrepreneurship opportunities, employment and continuing education concluded this week with a graduation ceremony hosted by Rosen Hotels & Resorts. According to the CFDC, more than 250 veterans have participated in the program to date, with a career placement success rate of 40 percent. Harris Rosen performed the event's opening ceremonies and Westgate Resorts COO Mark Waltrip and WOFL Fox 35 reporter Keith Landry shared business advice and motivational stories with the group. A proclamation letter for the initiative along with words of support from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and letters of recommendation from Congressman Daniel Webster were also presented to the class. Shown, above: Graduating Class of the 2016 Veteran Business Initiative IV Spring Program.

name that airport

MCO Photo in USA Today's "Name That Airport..."

A photo of Orlando International Airport (MCO) was the subject of this week's USA Today's online "Name that airport...". Each week, "Name that airport..." features a reader-submitted photograph of an airport and asks readers to guess the airport shown.

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FamilyFun Names Orlando Top Kid-Friendly City

FamilyFun magazine has named Orlando among the Top 10 Winners Overall of its 2016 Travel Awards, as the top Kid-Friendly City.

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Blog Features Orlando's Pet-Friendly Dining Spots

A recent VisitOrlando.com leisure blog highlights 15 pet-friendly dining spots located for visitors and locals alike to enjoy across the destination, including eateries in the International Drive area, Downtown Orlando, Winter Park and Baldwin Park. The blog also includes a link to pet-friendly places to stay in the area.

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Disney Unveils "Frozen Ever After" & "Soarin'"

On Tuesday, the media was invited to a behind-the-scenes look at the new "Frozen Ever After" attraction being built at Walt Disney World's Epcot theme park.

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Universal Orlando Announces All-New Haunted Maze for 2016 Halloween Horror Nights

Universal Orlando recently announced it's bringing the 1974 classic film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to life in an all-new haunted maze to debut at this year's Halloween Horror Nights.

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Allegiant Gives Tax Day "Refunds" to SFB Flight

The 159 passengers on Allegiant Air's April 15 Flight 714 from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to Owensboro, Kentucky, were given a pleasant surprise when the airline announced they would all be getting refunds on their airfare, in honor of Tax Day.

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MCO Passenger February Traffic Up 13%

Orlando International Airport's (MCO) February 2016 domestic and international passenger traffic increased 13.1 percent, for a combined total of 3.3 million passengers moving through MCO in February.

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First Lady to Join Prince Harry at Invictus Games

The opening ceremony on May 8 for the Invictus Games 2016 will feature appearances from First Lady Michelle Obama and Prince Harry, in addition to musical performances by James Blunt and Laura Wright, with more names still to be announced. The opening event will be held at Champion Stadium, located in the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in the Walt Disney World Resort. The Games run May 8-12.

Read More

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Industry News


PCMA Volunteers "Pack for the Troops"

In the spirit of giving back, Professional Convention Management Association's (PCMA) Capitol Chapter held its charity event "Pack for the Troops Packing Party" on April 19 at Fort Belvoir, a U.S. Army installation located in Fairfax County, Virginia. The 45-plus volunteers who attended the USO-hosted event, including Visit Orlando's National Account Director Barb Herod, prepared and boxed 3,000 care packages that included snacks and sundries. The packages will be given out to U.S. military troops at USO locations in the United States and abroad.

Travel Groups Weigh in on FAA Reauthorization Bill

On Tuesday, the United States Senate passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill (S.2658) by a vote of 95-3. Key travel industry groups had polar opposite reactions to the bill.

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Norwegian Air Receives Tentative OK to Fly to U.S.

The Department of Transportation has given its tentative stamp of approval for Norwegian Air International to fly to the United States, drawing fierce opposition from industry and union groups but earning applause from travel advocates.

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North American Employees Satisfied With Biz Travel

New research unveiled by the GBTA Foundation at GBTA Conference 2016 Toronto reveals that nearly 9 in 10 employees (88 percent) in North America are satisfied with their business travel experiences. The research also showed the key drivers of business travel satisfaction, including having expedited clearance for pre-approved travelers and getting through airport security.

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AAA: 35% Americans to Take Family Vacation
Within the Next 12 Months

According to a recent AAA article, more than one-third of Americans (35 percent) are planning to take a family vacation of 50 miles or more away from home involving two or more immediate family members in the next 12 months. Within the article, travel planning experts call out Orlando's theme parks.

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Tweeting for Meetings a Thing of the Past?

Twitter may still be the go-to social media channel for a lot of on-site participants at meetings, but Twitter's luster as an overall good tool for expanding a meeting's message may well be fading, according to a recent MeetingsNet article.

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Report Offers Insight on Millennial Travelers

Online travel company Expedia has compiled data on the key lessons marketers can learn about how millennials travel.

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Travel Restrictions Not Needed Within U.S. for Zika

Travel restrictions are not needed within the continental United States for pregnant women out of concerns about the mosquito-born Zika virus, National Institutes of Health disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNBC on Monday.

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CDC Zika Information

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), its most current data available (April 13, 2016) indicate that zero (0) locally acquired cases have been reported in the United States, while 358 travel-associated cases have been reported. For the most current information about the Zika virus, visit the CDC's Zika page.

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