Visit Orlando - Tourism Matters
Featured Event
Party at Pointe Orlando

Visit Orlando's 12th Annual
Party at Pointe Orlando

Click here to register at a special early-bird rate.


Join the Conversation

It's easy to find great food in Orlando, but we've found that a little sleuthing can uncover some real hidden-gem restaurants at area resorts.


Visit Orlando Events


Feb. 15
Member Meet-Up Happy Hour

iFly Orlando
Location: 8969 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
Time: 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Visit Orlando members, $25
Network with fellow members from all over Central Florida at the new iFly Orlando. In addition to networking, there will be drawings for raffle prizes, drinks, appetizers and an indoor skydiving opportunity. (Space is limited, registration required).
Click here to register.


Feb. 21
Power Hour Lunch

Urbain 40
Location: 8000 Via Dellagio Way
Orlando, FL 32819
Time: Noon to 1 p.m.
Cost: Visit Orlando member, $30
Get ready to share your 30-second elevator speech and build new relationships with fellow members at Urbain 40. Enjoy a delectable lunch during an hour filled with networking.
Click here to register.


March 6
Member Orientation

Recommended for both new members and long-time Visit Orlando members to learn:
• How Visit Orlando markets the area as a convention, meetings and visitor destination.
• The benefits of membership.
• How to take advantage of the value-added services available exclusively to members.
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

 Orange Lake Golf

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, waterslides, miniature golf courses, arcades, four golf courses, tennis and an 80-acre lake with plenty of watersports, a fun zone and more. Visit Orlando members save 20 to 25 percent off their stay. Call 866-892-5890 to reserve.


Balmoral Resort Florida is offering stays starting at $99 for Visit Orlando members. Stay at the fabulous new Balmoral vacation home resort at Haines City, just minutes from Legoland. Contemporary homes with private pools and spacious townhomes, just steps from the clubhouse. $99 for townhome, $125 for a pool home. Use code VOM for redemption by calling 866-6-VILLAS or email bookings@feltrimresorts.com. Subject to availability. Some restrictions may apply.

Chocolate Kingdom is offering a Valentine's Day Special. Receive 15 percent off chocolates for Valentine's Day. Offer Code: VOMember.

Orlando Watersports Complex is offering half-price riding every Wednesday from 2 p.m. to close. For redemption, mention offer code VOM2M


The Escape Game Orlando is offering 15 percent off gift cards and free shipping for Visit Orlando members. Shop now and use code BESTGIFTEVER.

Do you have an offer you would like to see posted? Submit an offer to Visit Orlando Member Relations here.

Industry Events

Feb. 18-20
Connect Travel Marketplace

Hyatt Regency Orlando

Community Events

Parramore Farmers Market
Orlando City Stadium

Winter Park Farmers Market
Winter Park

Orlando Farmers Market
Lake Eola Park

Nature Connects

Through April 22
Nature Connects® Art with LEGO®
Harry P. Leu Gardens


Through Apr. 7
Universal Orlando Mardi Gras
Universal Orlando Resort

Feb. 10
Winter Garden Blues & BBQ Festival
Winter Garden Downtown Pavilion

Feb. 14-Mar. 11
The Lion King
Dr. Phillips Center


Feb. 24-25
Downtown Food & Wine Festival
Lake Eola Park

Feb. 25
George Winston Benefit Concert
Stetson University

March 2 - April 22
Art31: Fiber
Maitland Arts Center

March 3
Blackberry Smoke Live Concert
Church Street District


March 8-11
AAC Men's Basketball Championship
Amway Center

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President & CEO's Message

February 8, 2018

Wishing Kathie Canning
the Best in Retirement

George Aguel

On behalf of Visit Orlando and our entire tourism industry, I want to thank Kathie Canning -- a member of the Central Florida Hospitality Hall of Fame -- for her 33 years of service at the Orange County Convention Center.

Canning, who retires this month, rose from a sales and marketing manager to executive director of the second-largest convention center in the United States. The major projects she oversaw continue to enhance Orlando's status in tradeshows and conventions.

Former general manager Jessie Allen will serve as interim director until a full-time replacement is appointed by the next mayor. Allen, who retired in 2012, worked for two decades as GM at the Convention Center.

As you'll read in this issue, congratulations are also in order for Yolanda Londoño, vice president of global social responsibility for Tupperware Brands and a member of Visit Orlando's board of directors. Londoño was recently presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 20th annual Don Quijote Awards gala.

In addition, 2017 was another excellent year for tourism employment in Orlando, as our industry added 10,900 jobs and outpaced the region's overall employment growth rate.

-George Aguel

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From the Research & Insights Desk of Visit Orlando
Industry Employment Grew 4.3 Percent in 2017

Orlando's leisure and hospitality employment rose 2.5 percent from November to December, reflecting the typical seasonal travel pattern. Industry employment was 4.3 percent higher than December last year, outpacing the 3.8 percent year-over-year increase in total MSA employment. With 10,900 jobs added in December 2017 compared to December 2016, the leisure and hospitality sector accounted for 23 percent of the increase in total MSA employment. This growth has been a key contributor to our region's unemployment rate of 3.3 percent, which is below the statewide rate of 3.7 percent.

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Visit Orlando Updates


Accepting Applications
from Local Nonprofits

Visit Orlando is now accepting applications from local nonprofits for its annual Magical Dining Month program in September. Last year, Magical Dining raised a record $208,620 for two charities. Nonprofits are encouraged to apply online no later than Feb. 28. Questions can be directed to Kristin Rothbauer, communications manager, at kristin.rothbauer@visitorlando.com.


Londoño Wins Lifetime
Achievement Award

Congratulations to Visit Orlando board member Yolanda Londoño, who was recently honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 20th annual Don Quijote Awards gala. Co-presented by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando (HCCMO) and Prospera USA, the award recognizes individuals in the region's Hispanic business community for their professional accomplishments, contributions to the industry and community, and demonstrated leadership.


Orlando an 'Emerging
Food Destination'

As part of a dining-focused destination orientation, the public relations team generated coverage in The Local Palate, an upscale, glossy magazine covering dining destinations in the South (126,000 print/online impressions). The story says, "One of the South's emerging food destinations, this Central Florida city has several surprises up its sleeve -- from the bustling Mills 50 neighborhood that's home to vibrant murals and a major Asian-American community to a string of restaurants racking up accolades."


Fore! PGA Show Draws
42K to Convention Center

More than 42,000 golf professionals, retailers and industry executives from 80 countries recently attended the PGA 2018 Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Center. At the golf industry's leading trade-only event, attendees discovered the latest trends in golf equipment, technology, apparel, accessories and more, as well as attend the world's largest outdoor demo day. The show returns to Orlando Jan. 23-25, 2019.

TC Travel

In-Flight Magazine Touts
Orlando for Adults

The public relations team generated a seven-page destination story in Thomas Cook Travel magazine (circulation 225K). The in-flight magazine profiled Orlando's eco-tours and growing dining and brewery scene, writing, "While there's still plenty to wow inside the theme parks, the real magic is happening beyond their walls, from game-changing local microbreweries to natural caves hiding beneath shimmering turquoise water."

Surf Expo

Catching Waves
at Surf Expo

Surf Expo, the largest and longest-running board sports and beach lifestyle tradeshow in the world, held its January event at the Orange County Convention Center. With more than 1,000 exhibitor booths, the show drew buyers from across the globe. Surf Expo returns to Orlando Sept. 6-8.



NY Times Spends
'36 Hours' in Orlando

The PR team pitched The New York Times to feature Orlando in its "36 Hours" travel series. Our team worked closely with the reporter to suggest dining, lodging and entertainment options that showcase urban Orlando. The resulting story, featuring nearly 30 Orlando-area businesses and organizations, received more than 108 million impressions.


Mills a Finalist for
Floridian of the Year

Congratulations to Harold Mills, member of Visit Orlando's board of directors, on his recent selection as a finalist for the Orlando Sentinel's 2018 Central Floridian of the Year award. Mills was chosen because of his work in academic, civic and charitable organizations, including LIFT Orlando. Mills also serves as vice chairman of the board at ZeroChaos, a workforce management solutions company he founded.

Blue Monday

Sharing Sunshine
on 'Blue Monday'

The public relations team generated nearly 1 million impressions on the popular blog and social channels of UK millennial influencer Scarlett London. In addition to her own content, we leveraged her influence for a "takeover" of Visit Orlando's Instagram on Blue Monday, showcasing sunny outdoor activities on what's come to be known as "the most depressing" day of the year" (the third Monday in January). London's trip coincided with a key booking period in the UK.


NBC New York
Spotlights Orlando

Last week, an NBC TV crew filmed a series of vignettes showcasing what's new and exciting in our destination. The segments, which will air on New York Live, feature TV host and lifestyle expert Ereka Vetrini. NBC will also produce several vignettes -- scheduled to air around live weather updates -- comparing New York's cold winter weather to Orlando's warm and sunny experiences.


Brazilian Travel Program
Showcases Orlando

Brazilian TV show Viagem Cultural, which airs on RedeTV to a combined audience of more than 4 million, filmed multiple episodes focusing on dining, entertainment, shopping and what's new in Orlando. Show host Rodrigo Ruas invited influencer Felps , with a 4.8 million reach on social media, to share his Orlando experience across his social channels. The expected combined viewership will be more than 12 million, with an estimated media value of $11 million.


Veterinary Expo
Brings 20K Attendees

The North American Veterinary Community returned to the Orange County Convention Center for a second year, rebranding the event as VMX (Veterinary Meeting & Expo). More than 20,000 veterinarians, veterinary technicians/nurses and support staff from across North America attended this flagship event, which offers top-tier continuing education, as well as diverse exhibits and events.

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News About Orlando

At the Center

Group Meeting Start End Estimated Attendees Estimated Economic Impact
Tampa Bay Volleyball Academy, LLC OT Invitational Feb. 10 Feb. 11 10,000 $9,850,000
W.W. Grainger, Inc. Grainger Show 2018 Feb. 11 Feb. 14 13,000 $25,610,000
International Gymnastics Association, Inc. Magical Classic Feb. 16 Feb. 17 1,500 $1,477,500
Major League Gaming Corp. Halo World Championship Orlando Open Feb. 16 Feb. 18 2,000 $1,970,000
Orgill, Inc. Orgill Spring Dealer Market 2018 Feb. 22 Feb. 24 22,615 $44,551,550
Pharmacy Development Services, Inc. PDS Conference Feb. 22 Feb. 24 1,400 $2,758,000

18 Orlando Hotels Rank
Among Nations Finest

Three Orlando area hotels met the superior gold badge hotel status on U.S. News & World Report's newly released 2018 ranking of the best hotels in the U.S., and several others received silver badges. In total, of the 293 hotels ranked in Florida, 18 area properties made the list.

Read More

Four Seasons Earns
Five Diamond Rating

AAA released its 2018 Five Diamond Award lists, recognizing 121 hotels. Ten of those hotels are in Florida, and the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort earned kudos as the Orlando area's only AAA Five Diamond-rated hotel.

Read More

Braves to Train at
ESPN WWS Through '19

The Atlanta Braves are extending their spring training agreement with Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports through April 2019. The Braves have held their spring training at the complex in Lake Buena Vista since 1998.

Read More


MCO Now the Busiest
Airport in Florida

Orlando International Airport is now the busiest airport in the state of Florida, with 44.6 million total passengers passing through in 2017. Orlando International, which ranks among the 15 busiest airports in the U.S., surpassed Miami International Airport to claim the top spot in Florida.

Read More

New Attractions Entice
Corporate Events

Large new attractions such as Topgolf, Andretti Indoor Karting and I-Drive 360 have re-energized competition for corporate events in Orlando, offering fresh selling points to attract convention business.

Read More

New Golf Facility at
Four Seasons Orlando

Four Seasons Resort Orlando held an official ribbon cutting for its 16-acre golf practice facility, which includes a double-ended driving range with a 2-acre natural grass tee box, a chipping and pitching area totaling 14,000 square feet, and greenside and fairway practice bunkers. It also includes an additional 13,000-square-foot putting green and TrackMan swing analysis technology.

Read More

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Industry News

Report Provides Insight
into Canadian Travel

A new report revealed Canadians are more likely to travel internationally and prioritize travel compared to Americans. Canadians spend an estimated $35 billion on outbound travel annually, but their travel patterns mirror American travelers.

Read More

Campaign to Revitalize
Travel Agency Industry

As millennials are using travel agents more, the Travel Leaders Group named 2018 the Year of the Travel Agent. This campaign focuses on revitalizing the travel agency industry, emphasizing the "12 Tenets of Travel Agents."

Read More


Ride-Sharing Increases
on Business Trips

Expense management firm Certify released new research showing business travelers are taking fewer taxi rides and renting cars less often. Ride-sharing transportation rose from 56 percent in 2016 to nearly 70 percent last year, with car rentals taking 25 percent and taxis the remainder.

Read More

Google Flights Now
Predicts Flight Delays

Using historic flight status data, Google added a new feature that can predict some delays, even when the information hasn't been made available yet by the airlines. Delays are flagged when Google's algorithm is at least 80 percent confident in the prediction.

Read More

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Tourism Ambassadors
Academy Sports ARDA Bags Balmoral Resort BB&T
British Airways Clear Channel Outdoor Darden Florida Distributing Company Florida Hospital
The Florida Mall IOA The Mall at Millenia Orlando Economic Partnership Orlando Health
Orlando International Airport Orlando Magic Orlando Premium Outlets OUC Orlando Sanford Airport
Pegasus Transportation Smart City Tupperware Brands Wells Fargo
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