Visit Orlando - Tourism Matters
Featured Event
Visit Orlando Luncheon

Our first signature luncheon of 2018 will feature an insightful conversation between Jonathan Tisch, chairman & CEO of Loews Hotels, and Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.
Click here to register.


Join the Conversation
College Park

How are Jack Kerouac, Emeril Lagasse and Visit Orlando's social media team connected? They've all spent time in College Park ... and who can blame them?


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.

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

Industry Events

May 10
Visit Orlando's Celebrating Travel & Tourism Luncheon

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

May 16
HSMAI Luncheon

B Resort & Spa

May 18
State of the County Address

Dr. Phillips Center

Limited Spots Remain for Rosen's Camp Pineapple
Do you know a student who's completed their freshman, sophomore or junior year of high school and wants to explore careers in the hospitality industry? Rosen College will be hosting its inaugural Camp Pineapple June 24-29, providing a fun week of residential summer camp experiences.

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 28
International Flower and Garden Festival

May 10-12
Florida Music Festival
Downtown Orlando

May 11
OBJ CEO of the Year
Hilton Orlando


May 12
Downtown Brew
Downtown Orlando


May 27
Orlando Carnival
Camping World Stadium

June 5-10
Dr. Phillips Center

June 16
Festival of the Sea
Festival Park

Connect With Visit Orlando

Social Media

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President & CEO's Message

May 4, 2018

Leading Insights, Industry Networking at
Celebrating Travel & Tourism Luncheon

George Aguel

More than 1,000 tourism and community leaders will be in attendance May 10 during Visit Orlando's Celebrating Travel & Tourism Luncheon at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort -- and I want to make sure you'll be there, too.

Sign up today, if you haven't already, because time is running out. This event is the perfect opportunity to network, enjoy a great lunch and hear from some of the industry's most prominent figures.

Martin Stoll, founder and CEO of Sparkloft Media, kicks off our general session by addressing the big changes coming to social media. Learn how to adapt to ensure your content continues to reach the right audiences, and get some surprisingly simple tactics that can significantly boost your social media ROI.

Our special keynote address will feature an enlightening conversation between Jonathan Tisch, chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels & Resorts and co-chair of Loews Corp., and Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. Hear firsthand Jonathan's perspectives on his own experiences in a constantly changing world that's impacting all sectors of our tourism economy.

For the icing on the cake, we'll announce the official visitation number for Orlando in 2017. Will it be another record-breaking year for our destination? I invite you to be the first to know!

Finally, as you'll read below, this edition of Tourism Matters has some excellent news to report on collections of Orange County's tourist development tax (TDT). Month after month, our region's leading industry keeps turning in strong performances across the board -- and that's particularly evident when looking at TDT revenue growth. It's just another testament to how our destination's ongoing investments and commitment to market what makes us special, continues to pay off in a big way for our community.

-- George Aguel

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From the Research & Insights Desk of Visit Orlando
March TDT Collections Break $30M Threshold

Collections of Orange County's tourist development tax (TDT) set an all-time monthly high in March, reflecting a busy spring break season for area hotels and attractions. The tax, which is charged on short-term rentals such as hotels and motels, generated $30.8 million. That represents an 11.9 percent increase over March 2017 and an 11.8 percent increase year to date. In 2017, Orange County collected a record $260 million in TDT.

Leisure and Hospitality Employment Up 4.8%

Employment in Orlando's leisure and hospitality industry grew 4.8 percent from March 2017 to March 2018, representing an additional 12,300 jobs for Central Florida. The industry accounted for 29 percent of total private sector job growth and one out of three (34 percent) additional jobs in the overall service sector. Orlando's leisure and hospitality industry has now recorded 97 consecutive months of growth versus the same month prior year. Growth in leisure and hospitality turned positive in March 2010, four months sooner than growth in total private employment began.

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Visit Orlando Updates

adrian award

Brazil Campaign Wins
Silver Adrian Award

Visit Orlando received a Silver Adrian Award in New York City for its 2017 Brazil campaign that focused on everything Orlando has to offer including shopping, dining and entertainment. The Adrian Awards are presented by Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International, a group that represents all segments of hospitality, travel and tourism.

gold badge

Welcoming I-Drive District
Engagement Officers

The community relations team met with the newly designated I-Drive district engagement officers last week to share Visit Orlando's role in marketing the destination and how we work with local law enforcement to ensure visitor safety. Complementing the Tourist Oriented Policing Sector (TOPS) initiative, this is a new partnership funded by the I-Drive Improvement District. Officers will be assigned to the I-Drive area and serve as a liaison between visitors, residents and businesses.


16K Attend McDonald's
Convention in Orlando

McDonald's Corporation welcomed 16,000 franchisees and exhibitors from 100 countries to its 2018 Worldwide Convention at the Orange County Convention Center last month. OCCC Interim Director Jessie Allen, McDonald's Director of Meetings and Events Christa Woss and Senior Director of Creative & Event Solutions Joseph Youssef joined Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel at a pre-conference event. McDonald's Corporation holds its convention in Orlando every other year.


Academy of Pediatrics
to Bring 16K Attendees

Visit Orlando hosted the meeting planning team from American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) during a site visit to the destination this week. The AAP Experience National Conference & Exhibition 2018 will be held here in November, with an expected attendance of 16,000.



Goudy to Be Honored
at CEO of Year Awards

Congratulations to Visit Orlando board member Roger Goudy, president & CEO of the Amateur Athletic Union, for being selected by the Orlando Business Journal as a CEO of the Year. The awards recognize company executives who have had significant career achievements over the past year, as well as a strong record of innovation, outstanding performance and active community involvement.


Orlando Featured in
Canadian Geographic

Visit Orlando's public relations team secured coverage in Canadian Geographic's spring/summer issue. The two-page article showcases two ways to experience Orlando -- traveling solo and with little ones -- and highlights dining experiences, new attractions, unique accommodations and outdoor adventures throughout the destination.


Members Receive
Cvent Certification

The convention sales team conducted a Cvent Supplier Network training and certification for members this week. The online training sessions, which connect meeting planners with hotels and venues, provide insight and tools that will help increase conversions for Orlando hotels.


Visit Orlando's Top 10
STEM Attractions for Kids

School is letting out for summer, but Orlando gives kids countless fun ways to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) all year long. Visit Orlando's social team compiled a Top 10 list from theme parks and attractions around the area where children can learn about the sciences while having a blast. Visit our blog to learn more.

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News About Orlando

At the Center

Group Meeting Start End Estimated Attendees Estimated Economic Impact
PLASTICS Industry Association NPE2018 May 7 May 11 65,000 $123,500,000

Orlando Ranks No. 1
for Summer Travel

Millions of Americans are counting down the days until their summer vacations, with most U.S. travelers planning trips to warm-weather destinations. Orlando has retained its top spot as the most visited domestic travel destination according to AAA.

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I-Drive Helicopter
Attraction Set to Open

AMP Group's Orlando Crossings shopping mall will open its new helicopter tour attraction this month, providing tourists a sky-high view of the region for the summer peak season. 

Read More

Fast & Furious Ride
Now Open at Universal

Universal Orlando Resort's new attraction, Fast & Furious - Supercharged, is now open. Guests can step into the blockbuster franchise and straight into the heart of the Fast & Furious films right alongside the crew, including Dom, Letty, Hobbs, Tej, Roman and Mia.

Read More

Don Emery Joins
Bay Hill Club & Lodge

Don Emery has been named president and general manager of the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Club & Lodge. Emery was previously at The Riviera Country Club and Tennis Club in California, where he was general manager for six years. Prior to that, he was general manager at Interlachen Country Club in Winter Park.

Read More


OIA Nation's No. 11
Busiest Airport

Orlando International now ranks as the nation's 11th-busiest airport, moving from its long-held No. 13 spot. According to the airport and the trade group Airports Council International, Orlando's MCO also is the busiest in Florida, and has moved to No. 39 in the world.

Read More

onePULSE Foundation
Kiosk at Bloomingdale's

Bloomingdale's Orlando will be the temporary home of an interactive digital kiosk in support of the onePULSE Foundation's "We Will Not Let Hate Win" campaign. Now through May 18, guests will be encouraged to take a moment to honor the 49 lives that were taken, the 68 injured victims, affected survivors, first responders and healthcare professionals who cared for the victims.

Read More

Free Dining Returns
to Walt Disney World

Disney recently announced the return of its much-anticipated Free Disney Dining plans. The offer includes two free meals and two free snacks per person per day. This year, Disney has introduced new beverage options with each dining package for guests 21 and over, including a non-alcoholic specialty beverage or beer, wine and cocktails.

Read More

Sesame Street Land
to Open Spring '19

SeaWorld Orlando announced that Sesame Street land will open Spring 2019. For the first time at SeaWorld Orlando, the park will have a daily parade that features Elmo and other characters. The land will also have a wet and dry play area and recreated locations from the television show, including Mr. Hooper's store, Big Bird's nest and 123 stoop.

Read More

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Industry News

ADR and Occupancy:
Year-over-Year Gains

The U.S. hotel industry saw year-over-year gains in both average daily rate and occupancy during March, according to STR. ADR grew 3 percent to $131.56, the largest year-over-year increase in a single month since January 2017. Occupancy rose 0.9 percent to 68.5 percent.

Read More

U.S. Travel Agencies
Increase Airline Sales

The dollar value of airline tickets sold by U.S.-based travel agencies for international and domestic flights rose 2.7 percent year-over-year in March to $9.1 billion, according to Airlines Reporting Corp. A 7.1 percent increase in international passenger trips accounted for the increase.

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Marriott to Buy
ILG for $4.7B

Orlando-based Marriott Vacations Worldwide will buy ILG for $4.7 billion in stock and cash. ILG has 40 properties and more than 250,000 owners with Vistana Signature Experiences and Hyatt Vacation Ownership portfolios.

Read More


Q2: Hoteliers Seeing
Positive Results

According to TravelClick, hotel bookings are up 2.7 percent and average daily rate is up 2.5 percent during the second quarter. Group travel is playing a key role, as group bookings are up 7.5 percent from this same time last year and group ADR is up 3.8 percent.

Read More

Airbnb Initiative
Combats Overtourism

Airbnb has opened the Office of Healthy Tourism in order to drive more economic growth through local and sustainable tourism. The initiative is designed to promote lesser-trafficked global destinations whose economies stand to benefit the most from tourism dollars.

Read More

Marriott Combining
Loyalty Programs

Marriott will formally unite all three of its hotel loyalty programs: Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. The new loyalty brand that will replace the three systems is scheduled to debut early next year.

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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