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Celebrating Travel and Tourism

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Fans are letting us know how much they like Visit Orlando's blog posts by our content and social media team! Monday's 5 Places to Enjoy Afternoon Tea in Orlando - just in time for Mother's Day - lists places around the destination that are serving up some small bites and sweet treats along with a soothing cup of tea. Our audiences are even thanking us for posting the list.

Visit Orlando Events

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

May 5
Business Referral Group

McDonald's - The World's Largest Entertainment McDonald's & PlayPlace
6875 Sand Lake Rd.
Cost: TBD
Click here to RSVP.

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.

Congratulations Members

Design of Morimoto Asia Recognized at Architects Awards Gala
Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto's first pan-Asian restaurant, received the Design Built Award of Merit from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The AIA Awards Gala honored the best of architectural design in Central Florida at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, April 23. For more information on the restaurant go to: www.morimotoasia.com


SKELETONS: Animals Unveiled in the I-Drive 360 Entertainment Complex is celebrating its First Anniversary. In honor of this momentous event, April 30th through May 2nd, SKELETONS is offering its Museum guests opportunities to grab from a skeletons bucket First Year discounts for Museum admission and merchandise purchases in the Gift Shop.

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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President & CEO's Message

April 28, 2016

Big Celebration, Even Bigger News

George AguelWe are looking forward to this year's Visit Orlando Travel & Tourism Luncheon with great anticipation. Not only will we recognize all that tourism has brought to our destination this past year, you will also be among the first to hear some very exciting news. As we kick off National Travel and Tourism Week, I am reminded of how the tourism community in Orlando has much to be grateful for. I hope you'll join us as we look back on our many successes and gather to celebrate on Monday, May 2nd at the Hilton Orlando.

Joining us will be keynote speaker, Peter Greenberg, an Emmy Award-winning investigative travel reporter and producer, and Travel Editor of CBS News. Mr. Greenberg will give us a glimpse into the trends that are emerging in travel and his global perspective on what we can expect for the future. In addition, we'll take a look at what all this means for our destination and the impact tourism will continue to have here in Orlando.

Join us as we honor the accomplishments within our industry … catch up with colleagues while making new connections … and be among the first to know what the future holds for travel right here in Orlando.

I want to personally invite you to attend the Visit Orlando Travel & Tourism Luncheon on May 2nd. If you have not already made your plans be sure you register today.

—George Aguel

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From the Research & Insights Desk of Visit Orlando

Leisure and Hospitality Employment Up in March

Leisure and Hospitality employment in the Orlando MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) rose by 12,900 jobs (5.4%) in March. Industry employment totaled 251,500 in March, up from 249,000 in February and 238,600 in March-2015. Total nonagricultural employment rose 4.3% in March, with Leisure and Hospitality accounting for 26% of the total increase. Overall, Leisure & Hospitality accounted for 21% of total nonagricultural employment in the Orlando MSA.

Orlando MSA Employment March-2016 March-2015 Difference Change
Total Nonagricultural Employment 1,192,300 1,143,100 49,200 4.3%
Leisure and Hospitality 251,500 238,600 12,900 5.4%
Industry Share of Total 21.1% 20.9% 26.2%
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Visit Orlando Updates


digitalNow 2016 Presents Future Trends and Technology to Association Leaders

The 16th annual digitalNow 2016, presented by Fusion Productions, was hosted by the Hyatt Regency Orlando and Visit Orlando this past April 21-23. Focused on association leadership in the digital age, digitalNow is open to only 250 Association leaders and is known for offering the most diverse lineup of innovators, keynotes, and thought leaders all collaborating in an intimate setting.

This year's program included presentations by Twitter and Microsoft, provided demonstrations of next generation 3D printing, augmented reality in mobile, and virtual organizations, as well as keynotes on future trends and content marketing. The co-founder of Netflix also spoke on how to transition your organization into the digital age. Next year's event will be held in Orlando on May 9-11 2017, for further information go to www.digitalnowconference.com

Pictured from left first row: Greg Fine, CEO, Turnaround Management Association; Thomas Loughlin, Executive Director & CEO, American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Hugh Lee, President, Fusion Productions; Lynn Thomas Gordon, CEO, AHIMA; Second row from left: Mary Lynn Fayoumi, President & CEO, Management Association; George Aguel, President & CEO, Visit Orlando; Deborah Sexton, President & CEO, PCMA; Paul Pomerantz, CEO, American Society of Anesthesiologists; Steve Lieber, President & CEO, HIMSS; Matt Loeb, CEO, ISACA; Scott Wiley, President & CEO, Ohio Society of CPAs; Brian Comes, General Manager, Hyatt Regency Orlando, and Don Dea, Co-Founder, Fusion Productions. Photo credit: Phelan Ebanhack.


Visit Orlando, Loews Portofino Bay and Ritz-Carlton Orlando Brings Virtuoso to Orlando

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, along with Visit Orlando hosted10 Virtuoso travel agents in Orlando to showcase the luxurious side of Orlando.

The agents also toured The Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort and the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and were treated to exclusive culinary experiences at all four Virtuoso Properties. They experienced VIP tours at Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, as well as the Walt Disney Parks with Disney VIP Tour Services.

The group enjoyed an evening with the Blue Man Group, explored natural Florida during the Ritz-Carlton eco tour, indulged in luxury at Discovery Cove and soared through the air at Sammy Duvall's Watersport Centre.


Here Ye, Here Ye, County Proclaims National Travel & Tourism Week

Visit Orlando, along with numerous community partners, is recognizing National Travel & Tourism Week (NTTW) with a series of events and activities. With one third of Orlando area residents employed in the travel and tourism industry, it is a community-wide effort recognizing the industry's impact on Central Florida.

The Board of County Commissioners kicked-off the celebration by praising the "hard-working men and women in tourism" for their role in welcoming our visitors and proclaiming the week of May 1-7, 2016, as Travel and Tourism Week in Orange County.


Walt Disney World Announces New Rides and Shows for the Summer

From nighttime animal adventures, Frozen princess attractions, and a galaxy of Star Wars offerings to celebrity chef restaurants and chic shopping, Walt Disney World awakens this summer with all-new blockbuster attractions and entertainment.

New details have been released about what and when guests can expect to experience all that's new across Walt Disney World this summer. Read Visit Orlando's blog here. View our video on all that's new at Disney here.

Kathleen Blake

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.



Brazil's Top Consumer Travel Magazine Comes to Town

Editors Fernanda Frazao and Ludmilla Balduino from Viagem & Turismo magazine,a major national consumer travel publication in Brazil, are currently being hosted by Visit Orlando. With a estimated reach of over 267,000 readers, editors learned all about the new and upcoming attractions here for their June issue. The feature story will also be included in the digital version of the magazine with over 2,000,000 unique monthly visitors and additional fans on their social media channels.


Thank You to Sponsors, Players and Volunteers!

Thank you sponsors, players, and volunteers for participating in Visit Orlando's 20th Annual Golf Tournament! Once again, Visit Orlando members turned out to showcase their golf skills, network with colleagues, and support a great cause, The Mustard Seed of Central Florida. Thank you to all who supported this membership networking event at The Villas of Grand Cypress Golf Club. Pictured from left to right: Dan Valha, of ConferenceDirect, Deborah Breiter, UCF and Kevin Kirby of the Kirby Consulting Group. To see more pictures from the event click here.


Visit Orlando Participates In Germany Workshops

Visit Orlando participated in Thomas Cook Germany´s Workshops which took place in Munich, Stuttgart and Offenbach (near Frankfurt) from April 19 - 21, 2016. Visit Orlando held five roundtable presentations per day to small groups of travel agents and led several discussions on the destination and answered questions. At the end of each event, a Visit Orlando package was presented as the grand prize each day. During the course of the events, approximately 100 Thomas Cook partner travel agencies were trained.


La Voz Kids TV Show Features Orlando

The hit TV show "La Voz Kids" which airs on Telemundo and is the kid's version of the popular American hit "The Voice" has partnered with Visit Orlando. The show filmed a series of vignettes that are currently airing during the show from now through July. The vignettes showcase the breadth and depth of the destination, including some of Orlando's thrilling outdoor adventures, high-flying fun and up close and personal encounters.


Travel Agents Attend Montreal and Toronto Appreciation Events

The Travel Industry Sales Team attended two TravelBrands Travel Agent appreciation events on April 12 and April 13. The first was held in Toronto where approximately 700 agents attended. The second event took place in Montreal on April 13 with 400 agents. Both shows featured a trade show and presentation detailing the offerings of the reinvigorated company. Among the new developments from the company will be TravelBrands Access - a "one-stop shop" approach for agents accessing the company's products online, which will see the Holiday House, Intair and Encore lines amalgamated. The new agent site will also include increased access to webinars, e-marketing documents and a new weekly newsletter. Pictured (left to right): Elaine Blazys, Visit Orlando Associate VP of Travel Industry Sales and Operations, Anita Walker, President, Mazuma Media Inc., Frank DeMarinis, Travel Brands CEO, Danielle Courtenay, Visit Orlando Chief Marketing Officer.


Orlando - Entertainment a la Carte

As a result of a group press trip hosted by Visit Orlando in early January, Mexican Estilo DF, a weekly lifestyle consumer magazine with an estimated media reach of over 600,000 published a feature story. Positioning Orlando as a top culinary destination, the story showcased vast options of venues for all types of food and wine lovers, including Tapa Toro, Urbain 40, The Pharmacy, The Wine Room, Mr. Paul and Hash House A Go Go among others.

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News About Orlando


Next Week at the Convention Center

Group Meeting Start End Estimated Attendees Estimated Economic Impact
The American Association of Orthodontists American Association of Orthodontists April 30 May 3 16,000 $31,520,000
Best Buy Stores, L.P. Best Buy Company Achievers May 2 May 4 2,300 $4,531,000
RFID Journal, LLC RFID Journal Live May 3 May 5 3,000 $5,700,000

Mayor Jacobs

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs Talks Job Growth, Tourism Records at State of the County

On April 22, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs touched on more than a dozen topics during her State of the County address at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. She talked about job growth, improving roads and tourism records in her address, which highlighted progress in the broad goals she outlined a year ago.

Read More

Delta Hotels Opens First U.S. Property in Orlando

Marriott International's Delta Hotels and Resorts brand opened its first U.S. property, in Orlando. Marriott completed its acquisition of the Canadian hotel company last April and plans to expand the upscale, full-service brand to major gateway cities like New York, Shanghai and London. The Delta portfolio is comprised of 36 hotels across Canada and now the 241-room Delta Orlando Lake Buena Vista.

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Main Event Entertainment to Open First Florida Location at Pointe Orlando

Dallas-based Main Event Entertainment announced that it will open its first Florida location at Pointe Orlando in a 48,000-square-foot space on the first level of the complex.

Main Event is the fastest-growing bowling-anchored entertainment center in America and currently has 20 locations.

Pointe Orlando is an open-air shopping, dining and entertainment destination located on International Drive adjacent to the Orange County Convention Center.



Top Water Parks Named by Fodor's

Fodor's list of the 10 Best Water Parks includes Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and SeaWorld's Aquatica.

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Orlando Citrus Bowl Will Now Be Known as Camping World Stadium

The nation's top retailer of RVs has secured the naming rights for Orlando's Citrus Bowl and will be known as Camping World Stadium thanks to a new, long-term exclusive agreement as the stadium's new naming rights partner. Visitors will see the Camping World name and brand proudly and prominently displayed inside and outside the recently reconstructed facility.

Unemployment in the Orlando at Eight Year Low

According to Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity, unemployment in the Orlando metro area is at an eight-year low. New data shows the jobless rate dropped from 5.1 percent last year to 4.3 percent. The area is leading the state in job creation, with more than 49,000 jobs in the past year.

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NBC Universal Theme Parks Doing Very Nicely for parent Comcast Corporation

Revenues for Universal's theme parks were up 57.5 percent for the first quarter as compared to the same quarter last year. The company attributes the growth to increased attendance and in-park spending and with the acquisition of majority ownership of Universal Studios Japan.

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Industry News


What Do Meeting Planners Want? Benchmark Resorts & Hotels Reveals Top Meeting Trends

Pop up meetings, over-the-top food and beverage experiences and creative teambuilding are some of the requests heard most often from planners for 2016.

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USA Today's Travel Panel Picks Best U.S. Airlines

Delta has been named the Road Warriors' favorite U.S.-based airline based on a USA Today survey. American Airlines finished second and Southwest third. Factors that influenced the voting included flight quality/comfort, timeliness of the flight/connecting flight, and quality of miles programs. To read the full story click here.



Rules of the Sky

Fortune Magazine has some tips for those flying this summer. One: Don't fly on a Sunday; it's the most expensive day of the week to fly. Read more on their Rules for Flying This Summer.

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CDC Zika Information

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), its most current data available (April 27, 2016) indicate that zero (0) locally acquired cases have been reported in the United States, while 426 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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Corporate Ambassadors
ARDA Bags BB&T British Airways Clear Channel Outdoor
Darden Fairwinds Credit Union Florida Distributing Company Florida Hospital The Florida Mall
Lufthansa The Mall at Millenia Orlando Economic Development Commission Orlando Health Orlando International Airport
Orlando Magic Orlando Premium Outlets OUC Smart City Tupperware Brands
United Service Companies
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