Visit Orlando - Tourism Matters
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Orlando's iconic wheel in the sky keeps turning, and now it has a new name: ICON Orlando!


Visit Orlando Events

member orientation

June 7
Member Orientation

Recommended for both new members and longtime 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.

power hour

June 27
Power Hour Lunch

Connect with fellow members over lunch and hear an update from Diane Crews, president and CEO of Orlando Sanford International Airport.
Location: DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando East UCF Area
(12125 High Tech Ave., Orlando, FL 32817)
Time: Noon to 1 p.m.
Cost: Visit Orlando members, $30; non-members, $35
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

Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort is offering Visit Orlando members the chance to come celebrate the resort's 10th birthday and receive 10 percent off. Book now or call 866-892-5890 and ask for the birthday celebration rate: ILXD7.

Balmoral Resort pool

Book your next vacation rental at Balmoral Resort and save 20 percent through May 31. Contemporary homes with private pools and spacious townhomes, just steps from the clubhouse. Click here or call 866-5-VILLAS.


Orlando City Soccer Club is extending a special offer to Visit Orlando members to all matches for the 2018 season. Click here to purchase tickets (link does not work in Internet Explorer). Use promo code VO.

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 10 percent off all games for Visit Orlando members. Book online by using offer code VisitORL_member10.

Crystal River Watersports is offering a special $50 manatee swim tour for Visit Orlando members and their immediate family. Use offer code VO-MEM.

Visit Orlando members receive $5 off at Breakout Escape Rooms. Book your game by calling 407-778-4562 and mention promo code VISITORL5.

Experience the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and save up to 25 percent on tickets. The Buccaneers are offering all-inclusive, round-trip transportation and ticket packages that start at $75 per person. For more information, call 813-998-3871 or email centralflorida@buccaneers.nfl.com. Use offer code: VISITORL.

Paddlefish, named the Best Seafood Restaurant by Orlando Magazine readers, is offering Visit Orlando members a complimentary seafood appetizer for group events of 20 or more guests. In addition, no food and beverage minimum for private parties now through the end of June. Email paddlefishevents@levyrestaurants.com to reserve your next event.

Luxury of Time by Diamonds International is offering Visit Orlando members 10 percent off watches and 20 percent off in-house jewelry collections. Offer excludes Chopard jewelry and Mont Blanc accessories. In-store only. Mention "Visit Orlando member offers" to receive the discount.

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

Industry Events

June 9
20th Anniversary

Fun Spot

June 24-29
Rosen College

Community Events

Parramore Farmers Market
Orlando City Stadium

Winter Park Farmers Market
Winter Park

Orlando Farmers Market
Lake Eola Park

Second Thursday of Every Month
Thornton Park's Wine and Art Walk
Thornton Park District

June 1
Wine Quest
Loews Royal Pacific Resort

June 5-10
Dr. Phillips Center

June 7
Art and Architecture
Orlando Museum of Art

Through June 15
Odd is Art
CityArts Factory

June 16
Festival of the Sea
Festival Park


July 3
Red Hot & Boom
Cranes Roost Park

July 4
Fireworks at the Fountain
Downtown Orlando

July 4
Winter Garden Party in the Park
Newton Park

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President & CEO's Message

June 1, 2018

Bringing the World to Orlando

George Aguel

Last week, Visit Orlando partnered with our member companies to showcase our destination to international travel buyers across the globe at IPW, the industry's premier international tradeshow and the largest generator of travel to the United States.

In just three days of intensive, pre-scheduled business appointments, more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations were on site to meet with nearly 1,300 international and domestic buyers from more than 70 countries, conducting business that would otherwise be generated only through an exhaustive number of around-the-world trips.

The show also served as a forum for U.S. travel leaders to champion crucial travel policies such as preserving Open Skies, improving airport infrastructure and sending a welcoming worldwide message -- which is especially important to Orlando's economy, as we rank as the 4th most popular destination for international visitors to the U.S.

Visit Orlando was well-represented with a Member Village that featured 28 of our member companies. We conducted 223 meetings with key industry clients and our public relations team also met with 60 media outlets from top markets, providing updates on our destination and seeding ideas for future stories about our destination.

Orlando has the special distinction of having hosted IPW seven times, more than any other destination, the most recent being in 2015. When the event returns in 2022, it will generate an estimated $1.5 billion in economic impact for our community!

-- George Aguel

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From the Research & Insights Desk of Visit Orlando
Summer Bookings Ahead of Prior Year

Advance hotel bookings for summer 2018 in Orlando (June-August) are up 2.4 percent compared to this time last year. Transient bookings -- accounting for 60 percent of total bookings in the latest data from Travelclick -- are on par (+0.2 percent) with prior-year levels, and group bookings are up nearly 6 percent over last year. The data on group room bookings is echoed in citywide attendance this summer at the Orange County Convention Center, which is also projected to be up 6 percent versus summer 2017.

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Visit Orlando Updates


MEGACON Attracts
100K Fans to OCCC

The Orange County Convention Center hosted MEGACON Orlando -- the largest comics, sci-fi, horror, anime and gaming event in the Southeast -- last week, attracting more than 100,000 fans. Featuring 300,000 square feet of exhibit space, the four-day event allowed fans to celebrate all things pop culture, whether it was an autograph or a photo with their favorite characters or getting the inside scoop about movies and TV shows. MEGACON will return to Orlando in May 2019.


Promoting Tourism
on Fox35

Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel appeared for another segment with host Ryan Elijah on "Orlando Matters," Fox 35's community affairs show, this past Saturday at 10 a.m. Aguel discussed 10 new attractions opening this summer and explained why Orlando continues to maintain its popularity as America's top vacation destination.


Orlando: 'Golden Age'
of Theme Parks

Visit Orlando's public relations team recently secured a second article in the Associated Press on new openings at the theme parks. "Nowhere are new thrills more abundant than in Orlando," says AP journalist Mike Schneider, heralding "even bigger blockbusters slated for next year." The article has been syndicated to 183 publications so far.


Forward Looking:
USA Today Eats

Visit Orlando's public relations team secured future coverage in USA Today Eats with a story on 10 bites in Orlando under $10. Highlighting the destination's affordable and authentic local dining options, the piece is expected to go live in the next quarter.


Helping Bring Future
Business to Orlando

The convention sales team, along with several Visit Orlando members, hosted a destination orientation this month for 13 meeting planners representing corporate, association and specialty groups. The meetings they represent could bring thousands of new attendees to our Orlando area hotels, restaurants and attractions.



Helping Celebrate
the ICON of I-Drive

Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel joined tourism industry professionals May 17 to celebrate the rebranding of the Coca-Cola® Orlando Eye, which is now ICON Orlando. The 400-foot observation wheel is the centerpiece of a one-of-a-kind dining and entertainment complex (rebranded as ICON Orlando 360) on International Drive.

wonder woman

Super Coverage of
Superhero Offerings

Visit Orlando's public relations team found success with a media pitch showcasing the top experiences for superhero fans in Orlando. The resulting coverage in domestic, Canadian and Mexican news outlets included articles on USA Today's 10Best.com, ElBlogdeYes.com, TodaysParent.com, MSN.ca and ThrillGeek.com . Among the featured experiences are MegaCon Orlando, The Orlando Science Center's "Hall of Heroes" exhibit and the new DC heroes coming to Madame Tussauds.


Inaugural Brazilian
Ambassador Training

Visit Orlando hosted its first nine-day, in-depth ambassador training program, providing Brazilian travel agents with the knowledge and tools to sell our destination. Agents, now deemed Visit Orlando Ambassadors, experienced the destination's unique dining offerings, outdoor adventures, distinctive hotels and resorts, attractions and more. Participating companies included: Azul Viagens, Flytour MMT Viagens, HotelDo, LATAM Travel, RCA, Suncoast and VouPra.com.


Aguel & Team Support
DoubleTree Unveiling

President & CEO George Aguel, along with Visit Orlando's convention sales team, attended an unveiling of the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld's expansion and renovation. The multimillion-dollar property makeover now features more than 100,000 square feet of flexible space and banquet facilities for indoor and outdoor events.


Promoting Orlando to
Planners in Boston

Visit Orlando conducted a successful sales mission in Boston May 9-10, providing members the opportunity to network with key clients, share what's new in Orlando and answer questions regarding our destination's offerings. In addition, meeting with new prospects helped increase destination awareness and opportunity for future business.

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News About Orlando

At the Center

Group Meeting Start End Estimated Attendees Estimated Economic Impact
Premiere Shows
Premiere Orlando 2018 June 3 June 4 57,000 $112,290,000
SAP SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference 2018 June 5 June 7 20,200 $39,794,000
Cisco Cisco Live! 2018 June 10 June 14 27,000 $53,452,010
AAU AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2018 June 17 June 28 83,000 $81,755,000

IAAPA Headquarters
Under Construction

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) has broken ground on its new international headquarters in Orlando. The 22,000-square-foot building is slated to open in the summer of 2019. IAAPA is making a $14 million capital investment in the community and hiring 40 new employees.

Read More

Disney Expansion Fuels
Overseas Investment

A recent article in Forbes highlights how Disney's expansion is helping turn Orlando into a hotspot for Brazilian real estate investors. Of note: 65 percent of The Grove Resort has been sold to foreigners, with the majority being cash buyers. Approximately 25 percent are Chinese, buying sight unseen. Another 20 percent are Latin Americans, and of that group, almost all are Brazilians.

Read More


Gaylord Palms Planning
$150M Expansion

The Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center is looking to expand, adding up to 90,000 square feet of meeting/pre-function space, 300 hotel rooms, two parking garages, a lazy river water feature and more. The expansion will total $150 million.

Read More

Fun Spot America
Celebrating 20 Years

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Fun Spot America is offering $20 all-day passes June 9 at its Orlando, Kissimmee and Atlanta locations. Fireworks will begin at 9 p.m. Fun Spot Orlando also recently opened a new attraction, HeadRush 360, which sits 12 riders and is 40 feet tall.

Read More

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Industry News

Hotel Industry Growth
Continued in April

The U.S. hotel industry reported positive results in April, with occupancy growing year over year to 67.9 percent and average daily rate increasing to $130.33. The growth in revenue per available room (which now stands at $88.54) was the largest for any month since January 2017, according to STR, and the industry has now had 98 consecutive months of year-over-year growth in this category.

Read More

5 New Hotels to Open
at Shopping Centers

Marriott and Simon have announced plans to open at least five new hotels at Simon shopping centers over the next several years. Currently, there are more than 15 Marriott-branded hotels located at Simon properties, with plans for addition properties in Florida, New York and Texas.

Read More


Expedia Releases New
Data on Bleisure Trips

Business trips of two to three nights are most likely to result in bleisure trips, as well as more long-distance trips, according to a study from Expedia. Other prominent factors influencing the decision to add on a leisure element include great entertainment, a bucket list-type destination and proximity to the weekend.

Read More

Global Cruise Market
Attracts 26.7M People

In 2017, the global cruise market attracted 26.7 million people, which surpasses the 25.8 million originally forecast for the year. North America represented the largest passenger market in 2017, making up nearly half the global audience, with 13 million (49 percent) of all ocean cruise passengers. Last year, the average cruise was 7.2 days, reflecting a 2 percent dip in the average cruise length in 2016.

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 Sullivan Benefits Tupperware Brands Wells Fargo
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