Before we cover this week's tourism news, please join me in remembering the brave men and women of America's armed forces. On this Veterans Day, we honor their service and sacrifice. Thanks to them, we are safe and free.
Mayor Demings, Visit Orlando Promote Our Destination in London
Last week was a big one for our destination on the international stage, as Visit Orlando and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings represented Orlando at one of the tourism industry's largest global events, World Travel Market in London. Highlights included a standing-room-only media and trade event, several dozen one-on-one appointments with clients, and meetings with tourism and airline executives instrumental in bringing visitors from the UK, our largest overseas market. Further spreading the news about Orlando's world-class tourism and business climate, Mayor Demings was interviewed on CNN International and BBC, as well as by top-tier trade publications like Travel Weekly. In all, it was a highly successful trip that will generate new and repeat business to Orlando. We're grateful for the Mayor's ongoing leadership in helping us promote our destination to such important key audiences far and wide.
Orlando: The Gold Standard of Hospitality for Meeting Professionals
I'm proud to share that Visit Orlando recently won the 2019 Stella Award as the best destination marketing association in the Southeast. Presented by the publishers of Meetings & Conventions and Successful Meetings magazines, the award recognizes organizations that provide quality service and innovation to the meetings industry. In addition, Prevue magazine gave Orlando its 2019 Visionary Award, which acknowledges the industry's most forward-thinking destinations. Orlando has become the gold standard of hospitality for meeting professionals around the globe, and that is worth celebrating!
TDT Revenue: Down for September but Up for Fiscal Year
September's collections of Orange County's Tourist Development Tax, a 6% levy on overnight visitors, fell 7.6% from a year ago. This is largely because the threat of Hurricane Dorian making landfall over the Labor Day weekend caused many visitors to alter their travel plans. For the 2018-19 fiscal year, however, TDT collections rose 2.6% to $284 million, the seventh consecutive year they have set a record. TDT revenue is a vital funding source for many tourism-related endeavors that bring value to our community, including destination marketing, Convention Center operations, and key arts, cultural and sports initiatives.
» Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was overwhelmingly re-elected to a fifth term last week. During his time in office, Mayor Dyer has championed many projects that have elevated the city from a tourism perspective, including construction of the Amway Center and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, as well as improvements to Camping World Stadium. Congratulations, Mayor. We look forward to the next four years.
» Today marks Day 1 on the job for Sergio "Serge" Rivera, the new CEO of SeaWorld. A former hotel executive, he has a strong background in the hospitality and leisure industries. Congratulations, Serge. Our industry welcomes you on board.
OTHER NEWS FROM VISIT ORLANDO
» Virgin Atlantic announced this week that it will add up to four weekly flights to Orlando out of England's Gatwick and Manchester airports for Summer 2020, a peak travel period from Orlando's largest overseas market. We work closely with both the airline and holiday divisions of Virgin to promote Orlando, and, together, our teams will be developing an exclusive consumer campaign to help fill these added seats for summer and beyond.
» Thanks to our publicity team, Orlando received syndicated coverage in more than 20 UK print publications — including top regional newspapers such as the Manchester Evening News, Birmingham Mail and Liverpool Echo — over the course of a few days in October. The articles highlight theme park thrills as well as dining, shopping and ecotourism.
THIS WEEK ON THE BLOG
» Visit Orlando's recent blog about the 2020 Pro Bowl didn't just promote the big game, it also let fans know about other winning reasons to visit, including luxury resorts, dining, nightlife, ecotourism and, of course, our attractions and theme parks.