Featured Event

Copa America

For more information on the games, click here.

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Internet and social media sensation, @AngrySplashMtnLady posted the photo of her husband riding Splash Mountain tagging @VisitOrlando in her post. Check out the post!

Visit Orlando Events

May 26
Business Referral Group

RA Sushi Pointe Orlando
9101 International Drive
Leads Group will be a fundraiser for St.Jude's Children's Research Hospital
Cost: $20 Inclusive - includes garage parking voucher (no valet)
Click here to RSVP.

July 14
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

John Sadio

51 members of Visit Orlando won Orlando Magazine's prestigious 2016 Dining awards. Best chef went to John Sadio, from deep blue Seafood Grille at Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek. See the full list of winners here.

Member-to-Member Offers


Visit Orlando has teamed up with Copa America to offer special member pricing for the first two matches that will take place at Camping World Stadium on June 4 and 6.


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.

hard rock

Hard Rock Café Orlando is offering Visit Orlando Members Free Delivery on all Offsite Corporate Catering. This could include Breakfast or Lunch Meetings, Customer Appreciation Events, Employee Appreciation Events, Holiday Parties, etc. Customizable menus and options are available to fit the event's budget and vision. To claim this offer, email Jaclyn Eiler and reference the Visit Orlando website. Expiration date: August 31, 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


May 25
Orlando SITE Florida & Caribbean Socializer

To benefit Children's Home Society of Florida.

May 31-June 2
2016 VRM Xtravaganza
Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld

June 1-4
Hispanic Business Conference & Expo 2016
Volunteers needed
Orange County Convention Center - North Concourse

June 23
Florida VRMA Networking & Social Event
Florida Villa Entertainment Services Showroom

Community Events

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

May 21
Runway to Hope Spring Fashion Soiree
Rosen Shingle Creek

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

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

Through June 5
The InFlux Series: Will Cotton
The Sources: Paintings and Drawings by Steve Lotz
Orlando Museum of Art

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

June 18-August 7
About Summer Nights
SeaWorld Orlando

Through Aug. 14
Orlando Museum of Art Florida Prize in Contemporary Art
Orlando Museum of Art

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

Social Media

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!

To sign up for our e-newsletter, click here.



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President & CEO's Message

May 20, 2016

Orlando Tops U.S. Meeting Destinations...Again!

George AguelOrlando has just been named the #1 meetings destination in the United States. According to Cvent, a leading event management company which sources nearly $10 billion annually in events around the globe, Orlando has again achieved the highest ranked spot on the Top 50 Meeting Destinations in the United States list. This repeat honor is a testament to the investment we, and our members, make to market, sell and create assets that make Orlando the ideal location for meetings and conventions.
Of the more than 5,000 U.S. cities that were evaluated, the leaders consistently made investments in infrastructure, featured hotel renovations and were committed to economic factors to make the destination more appealing. Cvent claims that "all of these cities can learn from multi-year leader Orlando that the only way to remain on top is to continue investing and innovating to remain competitive year after year." Following behind Orlando on the U.S. list were Chicago and Las Vegas.
With more than 118,000 hotel rooms, a host of resorts and special event venues, a top ranking by Cvent gathers the attention of countless meeting planners who rely on the endorsement when booking their next events. With superior accommodations and meeting sites, easy, convenient air service and a gold standard of hospitality it's easy to see why these meeting professionals love Orlando and continue consider us again and again.

-George Aguel

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From the Research & Insights Desk of Visit Orlando

April Lodging Results

The average occupancy in April across Metro Orlando's hotel industry was 79.8%, down 2% from the same month last year. Nevertheless, it was the second best April in the last 16 years dating back to April 2000. Part of April's dip in occupancy can be attributed to Easter - and the Spring Break surge that surrounds it - falling in late March this year versus April last year. Occupied room nights declined 1.8% from last year, and the average daily rate for April was $120.39, essentially unchanged (-0.1%) from last year.

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Visit Orlando Updates


Executive Client Advisory Board and PCMA Roadshow Comes to Orlando

The Orange County Convention Center and Visit Orlando Executive Client Advisory Board members along with the Professional Conference Management Association's (PCMA) Roadshow, met here this week to experience one of the largest global business technology events hosted by SAP-SAPPHIRE NOW. Geoff Cassidy, National Association of Home Builders; Howard Britt, Premiere Beauty Shows; Karen Malone, Healthcare Information Management Systems Society; Kelly Butler, McDonald's Corp.; Andy Darmahraj, Global Pet Expo and Keegan Hooks, SAP joined Michelle Russell and Susan Katz, both of PCMA, during the PCMA Roadshow. Also in attendance: Kristina Tarantino, American Express Meetings & Events, Lori Harnish, Speaking of Meetings, Maureen Feck, True Value, Christine Rasul, AMT, Kirsten Olean, American Society of Microbiology, Elizabeth Sullivan, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Yulita Osuba and Gwen Wilson of the Orange County Convention Center and Vickie Keliher and Ken Barnett, both of Visit Orlando.


Sapphire Now Brings in More Than 20,000 Attendees from 80 Countries

Keegan Hooks, global program manager, SAP, the largest software company in the world, is interviewed by Chris Kernstock, social media developer for Visit Orlando. SAPPHIRE NOW and the ASUG ANNUAL CONFERENCE took over the Orange County Convention Center this week. These events will bring in an estimated $42 million in total economic impact to the local economy. There are several reasons SAP has been coming to Orlando for the past 13, according to Hooks "We like Orlando because it's in the right part of the country for our 20,000 exhibitors and attendees. We've been successfully partnering with the Convention Center for 13 years. Centerplate is a fabulous partner for us, and Rosen, the Hilton and the Hyatt know what it takes to make SAPPHIRE NOW a success," she said. See the full video interview next week.

disney springs

Grand Opening of The New Town Center at
Disney Springs

The Content and Social Media team covered the grand opening moment of the new Town Center at Disney Springs. They had a very successful Instagram post and highly viewed blog and video.


Meetings Today Runs Orlando Feature

Meetings Today, one of the country's top meetings magazines with a circulation of 55,000 meeting professionals, ran an article "On the Scene: Orlando Offers Varied Attractions and Lots of New Developments" in the May issue. Writer Eric Andersen, shared his first-hand experience after a recent meeting media FAM, highlighting everything from what's new at Universal and Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort and Disney Springs, to the excellent dining and entertainment complexes. Read the full article.


Orlando Balloon Rides Makes a Lasting Impression on Brazilian Journalist

Heloisa Dall'Antonia of Viaje Na Viagem, a Brazilian website with more than 1,600,000 unique monthly visitors and dedicated to travel and tourism, wrote an article highlighting her flight experience with Orlando Balloon Rides. In this article, Dall'Antonia narrates her day from the early morning wake-up call to the beautiful memories she was left with after the breathtaking views. The coverage was a result of a FAM hosted by Visit Orlando.


Florida Resident Campaign Under Way

In an effort to boost the Orlando shoulder season, Visit Orlando launched a Florida Resident Campaign running April 25  through June 3 with offers good through June 15. The campaign consists of radio spots running in Tampa and Miami, and digital, geo-targeting Tampa, Miami, West Palm and Jacksonville. All efforts drive to the dedicated landing page - www.VisitOrlando.com/florida.



Turning Frowns Upside Down with "Angry Splash Mountain Lady"

When the now-famous photo of "The Angry Splash Mountain Lady ," upset that her husband did not join her for her favorite ride, began taking the internet by storm, Visit Orlando's PR team quickly recognized the opportunity and invited the internet sensation back to Orlando for the ultimate do-over. Not only did the "Lady" redo Splash Mountain - this time with both a willing husband and a big smile - she also experienced even more of the destination, including members I-Drive 360, Universal Orlando Resort and a stay at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.  News and photos of the re-do are being picked up by news and social media outlets around the country, including the NBC website, Today.com, and this great TV interview on Fox 35 with the happy couple. To see Visit Orlando's blog click here.


Colombia's LoMasElite.com Recognizes Orlando in Social Media

Beatriz Carabalí of Colombia's LoMasElite.com, with nearly 800,000 unique visitors, continued her coverage about Orlando posting multiple Facebook videos of Orlando attractions, including Fantasmic, Star Wars Launch Bay, Islands of Adventure. The site's Instagram and Twitter accounts received posts on Universal Studios, Skeletons Animals Unveiled and SEA LIFE, while a nearly 6-minute video of I-Drive 360's Madame Tussaud's was found on their YouTube page. The journalist was hosted by Visit Orlando earlier this month.


Orlando Highlighted in UK's Star Magazine

Visit Orlando's public relations team hosted an individual press trip for Star Magazine (circ. 148,738) April 28 - May 2, which resulted in a double-page destination spread. The article states "Whether you're after an action-packed adventure, want to bag a designer bargain or are simply drawn to the year-round sunshine, Orlando ticks all the boxes."

German FAM

Visit Florida Roadshow Germany 2016

From May 9 - 13 Visit Orlando participated in the Visit Florida Germany Roadshow which included the cities of Bielefeld, Trier, Baden-Baden and Konstanz. While these are secondary German cities, they are very affluent regions where the travel agents have not attended Visit Orlando presentations. Evening events included a travel market, followed by eight round-table presentations to agents in small groups. A total of 185 agents were trained during the week. At the end of each evening a Visit Orlando grand prize package was presented.


Brand USA UK FAM Visits Universal

Visit Orlando welcomed a Brand USA UK FAM arriving to Orlando on Thursday, May 12. Travel agents, a Brand USA and a VISIT FLORIDA representative stayed at the Loew's Royal Pacific Resort. The group enjoyed a VIP experience of the Universal Studios, above, and Universal's Islands of Adventure, dined at CowFish restaurant at Universal's City Walk and concluded the night with the Blue Man Group.


Colombian Editorial Company Experiences Orlando for Summer Coverage

Fernándo Gómez Echeverri, general director and editor of three major Colombian consumer magazines (Bocas, Don Juan and Habitar with a combined circulation of 374,447 printed copies), was hosted by Visit Orlando's Latin America public relations team looking to explore the city's diversity. Aside from enjoying popular attractions, like Universal Orlando, CityWalk and Disney Springs, Echeverri experienced Winter Park's Park Avenue, including the Scenic Boat Tour and Morse Museum, and local neighborhoods like Audubon Park, Ivanhoe Village and College Park. He toured the architectural Dr. Phillips Center in downtown, experienced city nightlife along Orange Avenue and Church Street, and rocked the night away at a concert at the Amway Center.

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News About Orlando


Next Week at the Convention Center

Group Meeting Start End Estimated Attendees Estimated Economic Impact
International Trademark Association, Inc. International Trademark Association Annual Meeting May 22 May 25 8,900 $17,533,000
MegaCon MegaCon May 26 May 29 40,000 $9,097,066
USA Volleyball USA Volleyball Open National Championships & Corporate Annual Meetings May 27 June 1
6,500 $12,805,000


DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld Breaks Ground on New Meeting Space

This week, executives from DoubleTree, and Spire Hospitality, along with Visit Orlando's president and CEO broke ground on the spot of the hotel's new meeting space. At the end of this multi-million dollar renovation, the DoubleTree will have 40,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor event space. Expected completion: Early 2017.

Pictured from left: George Aguel, Visit Orlando President & CEO, Jim Gross, General Manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld, Russ Flicker, Principal, AWH Partners, Steven Green, Director of Sales & Marketing, DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld, Greg Horeth, Chief Operating Officer, Spire Hospitality.

Read More

Orlando - World's Best Family Vacation Spot

Orlando has been identified as one of the world's best family vacations spots in the USA by U.S. News & World Report. We're not surprised. According to the article, "entire worlds await you in Orlando. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter lures Muggles in droves, but Walt Disney World still treats visitors to a range of rides and attractions." The annual rankings were published here and here.


Even More Space! Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa Opens New Meeting Space

The first phase of Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa's $20 million renovation project has included the opening of 20,000 square feet of new meeting and banquet space. The 2,300-villa, luxury condominium resort now offers a total of 36,000 square feet of meeting space.

The restaurant and retail spaces will be completed this year. The flexible meeting space offers stunning 360-degree views of Orlando with giant windows overlooking the Orange County Convention Center with views of the nightly fireworks from Central Florida's major theme parks.

Read More

Skull Island: Reign of Kong Opens This Summer

Three stories tall and 18 feet wide, King Kong will make his presence known this summer at Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal Orlando Resort. For an inside look at the encounter with King Kong himself, check out the video here


Annies Awards

Orlando Sanford Receives Two U.S. ANNIES Awards

Airline Network News & Analysis, a website dedicated to outstanding airline network planning intelligence, announced Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) as the winner of two U.S. ANNIES Awards in 2015. One for "Fastest Growing U.S. Airport" for airports between 2 million and 5 million passengers and one for the airport with the "Most New Routes". Helped by 12 new routes, the airport enjoyed 13.5% passenger growth in 2015 to complete a third consecutive year of record passenger traffic with 2,480,122. Orlando Sanford now offers nonstop service to over 70 markets worldwide. The Airport's top carrier, Allegiant Air, accounted for 89% of the passenger traffic in 2015. New airline services from National Airlines and Surinam Airways also helped the Airport achieve its record numbers. Pictured from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB): Larry D. Gouldthorpe, A.A.E., President of Airports Worldwide and Diane H. Crews, A.A.E., President and CEO of the Sanford Airport Authority.

Self-driving Taxis in Orlando? It May Happen

According to the Orlando Business Journal, Lyft and GM have yet to name a city or cities that would serve as test markets for the technology, but Orlando, as a technologically advanced transportations city, it's a possibility.

Read More

Travel Pulse Says Two Hilton Properties Have Coolest Themed Hotel Bars

Bottom's Up! David's Club Bar & Grill at the Hilton Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek's MYTH Bar were named coolest hotel bars.

Read More


Visit Orlando/James Beard Scholarship Offering $7,500 in Culinary Scholarships/Deadline Extended

Aspiring culinary or hospitality event professionals can apply for one of three $2,500 scholarships courtesy of Visit Orlando and the James Beard Foundation. Thee scholarships can help educate future food and beverage professionals who can then join the area's thriving dining and entertainment scene. 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. Thanks to the great response to our scholarship application offering, we have extended the applications deadline to Sunday, May 22nd, 11:59 pm. For more information go here.

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Industry News
Meetings Mean Business Launches Business Leader Video Series

The Meetings Mean Business Coalition® (MMBC) has launched a new business leader video series to showcase authentic stories of how and why meetings matter across all professions. The inaugural three video vignettes reflect the widespread reach of meeting face-to-face, profiling a trade association, a not-for-profit, and a corporation. MMBC will continue to debut new videos throughout the year to highlight how meetings build trust, foster engagement and generate new business. President & CEO George Aguel was one of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition's original supporters when it was created in 2009. Visit Orlando is still on the Board of Directors.

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Millions Still Not Signed Up for TSA PreCheck

According to the U.S. Travel Association, millions of eligible people in the U.S. are still not signed up for TSA PreCheck, in many cases because they harbor some misconceptions about the program and what it does. The USTA would like to dispel the myths.

Read More

Governor Rick Scott: Florida Tourism
Breaks Record

While Orlando broke another record for tourism-66 million visitors in 2015-Florida as a whole was no slouch. During a press conference this week at the Clearwater Aquarium, Governor Rick Scott announced that 29.8 million out-of-state and international visitors came to Florida in the first quarter of 2016 (January-March), marking the highest number of visitors in one quarter in the state's history. This is an increase of 4.8 percent over the same period last year and exceeds the previous high of 28.5 million in the first quarter of 2015.

Read More

CDC Zika Information

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), its most current data available (May 18, 2016) indicate that zero (0) locally acquired cases have been reported in the United States, while 544 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 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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