Visit Orlando - Tourism Matters
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Are you as excited for MegaCon Orlando 2018 as Visit Orlando's social media team? They'd love to see you there!


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.

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

May 18
State of the County Address

Dr. Phillips Center

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

Through May 20
LEGO Star Wars Days

May 24-27
MegaCon Orlando
Orlando Orange County Convention Center


Through May 28
International Flower and Garden Festival


May 27
Orlando Carnival
Camping World Stadium

June 1
Wine Quest
Loews Royal Pacific Resort

June 5-10
Dr. Phillips Center

June 7
Art and Architecture
Orlando Museum of Art

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

Connect With Visit Orlando

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President & CEO's Message

May 18, 2018

A Record-Breaking Achievement that
Extends Throughout Our Destination

George Aguel

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with local business and community leaders about the tremendous impact of our tourism industry -- and the role Visit Orlando plays in our destination's ongoing success.

Our conversation was all the more timely because Visit Orlando had just broken the news that a record 72 million visitors traveled here in 2017, more than any other destination in the U.S.

From nonprofit executives to small-business owners, it was apparent that everyone felt a deep sense of pride and ownership in our collective achievement. And that was especially meaningful because these were people who work outside the tourism industry.

Their reaction drove home a key point: When you get right down to it, tourism benefits all of Central Florida, not just the theme parks, attractions and hotels. Visitors generate nearly $70 billion each year in economic impact for our region, supporting 1 in 3 local jobs and providing taxes that help pay for a variety of crucial public programs and services.  

Indeed, when tourism is strong, our economy is strong. The positive effects ripple throughout our community, as well as our state, and everyone in Orlando can be proud of our well-earned status as America's most-visited destination.

-- George Aguel

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From the Research & Insights Desk of Visit Orlando
AAA's Top Memorial Day Destination: Orlando!

More than 41.5 million Americans -- 4.8 percent more than last year and the most since 2005 -- will travel this Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA. And, based on AAA advance travel bookings, Orlando was named the top Memorial Day destination in the U.S. The large majority (88 percent) will travel by auto, despite the most expensive Memorial Day gas prices since 2014. The nationwide average price per gallon as of May 14 was $2.871, 53 cents more than a year ago. Still, high consumer confidence levels and the lowest unemployment rate since 2000 bode well for a strong summer travel season.

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Visit Orlando Updates


Record Media at
Signature Luncheon

Coverage of Visit Orlando's record-breaking visitation announcement continues all week, thanks in part to all-time high media attendance at our May 10 luncheon. Not only did Visit Orlando have strong representation from local print, broadcast and influencer media, but national outlets such as CBS News, USA Today.com and Forbes Online were also in attendance.


Celebrating National
Travel & Tourism Week

Visit Orlando celebrated National Travel & Tourism Week May 6-12 with a flurry of activities that started with proclamations from Orange County and the city of Orlando extolling the importance of tourism. On Thursday, we announced 2017's record visitation (72 million visitors) during a luncheon attended by approximately 1,000 industry and community leaders at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. To conclude the week, Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel presented at the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association's Tourism Ambassador Luncheon at Camping World Stadium. L to R: Rich Maladecki, CFHLA; District 44 Rep. Bobby Olszewski; George Aguel, Visit Orlando; Brian Comes, Hyatt Regency Orlando.


Members Gain Insight
from Industry Expert

Approximately 350 Visit Orlando members and hospitality professionals learned the latest social media trends from industry expert, Martin Stoll, founder and CEO of Sparkloft Media, during the first Celebrating Travel & Tourism general session event. Martin provided valuable insights, including how to turn customers into brand ambassadors by encouraging them to share their stories.

UK Roadshow

10-City Roadshow a
Success in UK, Ireland

Visit Orlando's travel industry sales team took to the road for a series of training events in 10 cities across the UK and Ireland. Approximately 1,000 travel agents attended the "Know Orlando, Sell Orlando" training sessions to gain the latest updates on what's new in Orlando and get expert tips on selling our destination. Each event included presentations by our theme parks and, new this year, the Visit Orlando Marketplace -- a mini tradeshow that enabled agents to meet one on one with members. Several of the participating travel agents will visit Orlando in September on the 2018 Superfam.


George Aguel Welcomes
HelmsBriscoe Conference

Visit Orlando and its partners welcomed meeting planners from HelmsBriscoe to Orlando April 30 for their Annual Business Conference. The event, which offered key education and networking opportunities, allowed Visit Orlando to promote "Why Choose Orlando," showcasing what's new in our destination for convention attendees -- from theme parks and entertainment to hotels and restaurants.


FOX 35

Aguel to Appear on
Fox 35's Orlando Matters

Tune in this weekend and next weekend as Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel will make back-to-back appearances with host Ryan Elijah on Orlando Matters, Fox 35's community affairs show, airing Saturdays at 10 a.m. On Saturday, May 19, Aguel will discuss the impact of 72 million domestic and international visitors to the destination in 2017, while also reflecting on how Orlando has evolved in the past few years and the exciting new things on the horizon in the coming years. On Saturday, May 26, he will discuss the 10 new attractions opening this summer and explain why Orlando continues to maintain its popularity as America's top vacation destination.

new dorms

Russell Home Unveils
Visit Orlando Girls' Dorm

The Russell Home for Atypical Children unveiled its newly expanded home last week, and Visit Orlando was happy to be part of the effort that helped make this much-needed, 15,000-square-foot renovation a reality. In 2016, the Russell Home received a Magical Dining Month donation totaling $195,125, enabling the organization to build a 1,200-square-foot girls' dorm. "If it weren't for Magical Dining, these beautiful rooms would never have happened," said Betty Turner, Russell Home's program director. "We don't know where we would be without our wonderful community."


Record 65K Attend
NPE2018 in Orlando

Recognized as the world's largest plastics trade show and conference, NPE2018 brought more than 65,000 attendees -- and 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space -- to the Orange County Convention Center May 7-11. International attendance measured nearly 17,000 people. New this year, NPE2018 incorporated a program to educate students about the plastics industry and to spotlight careers in plastics. Central Florida students were able to tour the exhibit halls, hear exclusive talks by participating exhibiting companies, visit the NPE Network Studio and more. The event will return to Orlando in May 2021.


Visit Orlando Networks
at PCMA Awards

Visit Orlando's sales team attended the Professional Convention Management Association's Visionary Awards May 2 in Washington, D.C. More than 1,000 business event professionals gathered, including many of Visit Orlando's top convention clients.


Top-Tier Mexican Media
Experience Orlando

Visit Orlando's public relations team worked with several Mexican journalists to showcase our destination's diversity in attractions, activities and dining. The journalists -- representing top Mexican publications Travesias, Food & Travel, The Happening and Mundo Ejecutivo (with over 1 million impressions combined) -- will publish stories about the destination in the coming weeks to continue to drive awareness about Orlando in the Mexican market.

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News About Orlando

At the Center

Group Meeting Start End Estimated Attendees Estimated Economic Impact
Olson Exposition Management, Inc. DBA AmCon AmCon 2018 May 22 May 23 1,000 $1,900,000
Informa Pop Culture Events, Inc. MegaCon May 24 May 27 68,940 $67,905,900
Premiere Shows, Inc. Premiere Orlando 2018 June 3 June 4 57,000 $56,145,000

New Study: Americans
Taking More Time Off

A study by the U.S. Travel Association revealed that the average American worker took 17.2 vacation days in 2017, a 0.4 percent increase from the previous year. For its story on the matter, the Orlando Sentinel quoted Becca Bides, Visit Orlando's vice president of communications, as saying: "While Orlando is a top international destination, the mainstay of our visitors -- nearly 90 percent -- are from the U.S., so we're encouraged to see America's vacation usage is moving in the right direction."

Read More

$3M for WrestleMania
and Special Olympics

As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Orange County commissioners are ready to rumble for the Special Olympics USA Summer Games and for WrestleMania, pledging $3 million in bed-tax revenue from the Sports Incentive fund to boost bids to lure the events.

Read More

Aquatica's Ray Rush
Water Slide Now Open

SeaWorld Orlando opened its newest water slide at Aquatica over the weekend. The ride is designed to accommodate up to four guests per raft and will take riders through three elements: Beginning at a platform 60 feet high, riders will be launched by a water jet, spun in a giant sphere and slide along an open-air half-pipe.

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Bahama Breeze Touts
Group Dining Options

Bahama Breeze Island Grille on International Drive hosted an open house earlier this month to showcase its private and semi-private dining options, which can accommodate groups up to 750 guests. Bahama Breeze has eight locations in the greater Orlando market and is planning to open its newest restaurant on North I-Drive this fall.

Read More


Orlando Top Choice
for Association Planners

A new study by STR shows that 67 percent of meeting planners have considered, or would consider, Orlando as a meeting location. Chicago also came in at 67 percent. Rounding out the top five are: Washington, D.C. (66 percent) San Diego (64 percent) and Las Vegas (62 percent).

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Forbes: Orlando No. 6
Best City for Jobs

Orlando, where 1 in 3 workers are supported by tourism, is No. 6 on Forbes' list of the best cities for jobs. The rankings are based on short-, medium- and long-term job creation, and factor in momentum -- whether growth is slowing or accelerating. In 2017, leisure and hospitality employed more workers than any other sector of the Orlando economy.

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to Open Spring 2019

LEGOLAND Florida will open THE LEGO MOVIE WORLD spring 2019, representing the park's largest-ever investment. The new area will place guests right in the middle of Bricksburg, the city where Emmet lives in THE LEGO MOVIE, and will feature three new rides, character meet and greets and a giant themed playscape.

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New Entertainment
Center Opens in Ocoee

GameTime Ocoee, a 25,000-square-foot entertainment center located on West Colonial Drive near West Oaks Mall, is now open. The center features more than 100 new and retro classic arcade games, mini-bowling and other activities.

Read More

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Industry News

SeaWorld Attendance
Grew Nearly 15% in Q1

SeaWorld Entertainment announced a boost in attendance during the first quarter, up 14.9 percent during the period to 3.2 million guests. First-quarter results were mainly driven by new marketing and communications initiatives, the anticipation and receptivity of new rides, attractions and events and new promotional pricing strategies.

Read More


TripAdvisor Experiences
Increases Revenue

TripAdvisor announced it has rebranded the tours and activities offerings to TripAdvisor Experiences. In the first quarter, TripAdvisor's non-hotel business, which includes experiences, restaurants and rentals, increased its revenue 36 percent to $79 million compared with the year-earlier period.

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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