Slower growth could be a short-term challenge, but the bigger picture is our long-term strength.
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FROM THE PRESIDENT & CEO
Economic Outlook for Tourism: Cautious Optimism
Recently, at a meeting of area business leaders, I was asked about Orlando’s economic outlook, particularly as it relates to our region’s No. 1 industry: tourism.
Our forecast at Visit Orlando calls for cautious optimism. Despite a projected slowdown in national economic growth — in addition to a strong dollar and potential headwinds in our core international markets — our destination is positioned to continue positive growth in 2019, although at a more moderate pace.
At the same time, our industry continues its tradition of investing for the long term. Our theme parks are maintaining their schedule of rolling out new attractions, our hotel supply is growing at its fastest rate in 20 years, our airport is expanding to meet increasing demand, and the Orange County Convention Center is launching a five-year capital expansion plan.
Put it all together and there's plenty of reason for excitement about what the future holds.
President & CEO
RESEARCH & INSIGHTS
Moderate Growth Expected Next 6 Months
U.S. Travel Association's Travel Trends Index for January 2019 registered growth for the 109th straight month, indicating the industry is entering its 10th consecutive year of expansion. Growth over the past six months has averaged about 3 percent, but the Leading Travel Index predicts growth over the next six months will moderate to around 2 percent.
VISIT ORLANDO ACTIVITIES
Aguel Joins Hyatt for
Event Space Unveiling
Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel joined Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress General Manager Paul Joseph to announce the official name of the property’s $32 million Windsong Ballroom, expected to open in fall 2019. The expansion will add 32,000 square feet of prefunction and event space to Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.
Top Canadian Travel
Site Features Orlando
Visit Orlando generated coverage on Canada’s leading travel deals outlet, RedFlagDeals.com, reaching an audience of 19 million during a key booking period. The story highlights what’s new for March break in Orlando, from theme park rides and outdoor festivals to hotels and attractions.
Colombian Travel Pros
Learn About Orlando
On Feb. 23, Visit Orlando conducted a destination training for 80 travel professionals from Aviatur, the largest tour operator in Colombia. The training provided attendees with the knowledge and tools needed to help sell Orlando as a destination.
Grainger Brings 15K,
Grainger held its annual convention at the Orange County Convention Center March 2-5, with more than 15,000 in attendance. Utilizing multiple hotels throughout the destination, Grainger generated more than $29.5 million in economic impact. The Grainger Show will return to Orlando in March 2020.
Aguel Touts Economic
Impact of Tourism
Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel was quoted in a recent article covering the importance of tourism in Florida. “Tourism is the lifeblood of our region,” he told the Orlando Business Journal, “supporting 41 percent of our workforce and fueling growth in all sectors of our local economy, from retail to real estate.” The article quantifies the impact of the tourism industry on every region of Florida.
Visit Orlando Hosts
Brazilian Travel Advisers
Visit Orlando held an educational training Feb. 20 for CVC, the largest tour operator in Rio de Janeiro. In addition, Visit Orlando hosted a four-day destination orientation for 30 key Brazilian travel advisers along with Suncoast USA, a tour operator headquartered in Orlando and Sao Paulo. During their stay Feb. 21-24, attendees experienced everything Orlando has to offer, including theme parks, dining and entertainment.
Record Attendance at
Visit Orlando’s annual Party at the Pointe networking event was held on March 13 at Pointe Orlando with record-setting attendance. The multi-venue event featured seven restaurants and is a favorite among members, allowing industry professionals the opportunity to make valuable connections in Orlando.
Networking with Key
Planners in Philly
Visit Orlando and its members connected with more than 75 meeting planners during a sales mission to Philadelphia March 6-7. Events such as this help generate meetings and convention business for our destination. Pictured: Visit Orlando National Account Director Susan Zeiri with Lila Horowitz and Amanda O’Leary of Ashfield Meeting and Incentive.
DID YOU KNOW?
Central Florida’s best restaurants are highlighted each year in the Orlando Sentinel’s Foodie Awards, and several Visit Orlando members made the list for 2019. Read More
IN THE NEWS
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to Open Aug. 29
Phase 1 of the 14-acre land will include Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. Read More
SeaWorld’s Sesame Street to Open March 27
The new land features a full-size likeness of the famed street scene. Read More
OIA’s Terminal Among Top Projects in Nation
Terminal C is predicted to welcome around 11 million more passengers. Read More
Sanford Airport Expansion on Track for ’20 Debut
The project will add nearly 50,000 square feet and include four new gates. Read More
Rosen College Ranks Among Top 5 in World
This is the third consecutive year UCF’s hospitality school made the list. Read More
Power Hour Lunch
Wednesday, March 20
Noon to 1 p.m.
This week's Power Hour event will help make the most of your lunch hour. Enjoy a three-course meal from this Winter Park favorite and Magical Dining Month participant. Register today to make valuable business connections.