From tourism’s impact on Orlando’s local economy to Thanksgiving travel forecasts, here's your weekly look at what's happening across America's most visited destination.
Tourism’s Economic Impact Reaches $75.2 Billion
Tourism is the lifeblood of our local economy, and a new study by leading global research firm Oxford Economics quantifies just how great that contribution has grown. Orlando’s tourism industry generated $75.2 billion in economic impact last year (a 6.4% increase over 2017). That’s an impact of $1,000, on average, per visitor and more than the annual GDP of nine different U.S. states! In addition, tourism supports 41% of our region’s workforce (463,000 jobs) and accounted for $5.8 billion in state and local taxes — money that goes toward our schools, roads and other vital services. Looking ahead, we anticipate these numbers will only continue to grow, as new product investment and strong global marketing campaigns push Orlando’s No. 1 industry to new heights.
Lodging Sector Emerging from Soft Third Quarter
This week, you might have read where third-quarter visitation to Florida grew at its smallest rate since 2010. Of course, Orlando constitutes the lion’s share of visitation to our state, and this news aligns with updates we’ve been providing for several months about softness in our market’s lodging sector. A turnaround is on the horizon, though, as advance booking data suggests Orlando’s lodging sector should see an uptick in demand through the end of 2019, outperforming state and national expectations. We’ve already seen this to be the case in October, and it appears November and December will be the same. Looking ahead, expect this momentum to carry into the first quarter of 2020 and possibly beyond.
Congratulations, Harris Rosen, on Winning OEP’s Highest Honor
On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of joining members of our board and other community leaders as the Orlando Economic Partnership honored hotelier Harris Rosen with its James B. Greene Award for substantial contributions to our region’s economic prosperity. Harris’ impact on our community has grown exponentially since he bought his first hotel in 1974, and we are grateful for his ongoing leadership in the areas of hospitality, education and philanthropy.
Gobble, Gobble: Orlando No. 1 Travel Destination for Thanksgiving
For the third consecutive year, Orlando is America’s top Thanksgiving travel destination, according to AAA. To help visitors plan their special meal, Visit Orlando created a “Thanksgiving Day Dining in Orlando” webpage and blog post. Nationally, more than 55 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more this weekend, making it the busiest volume for Thanksgiving travel in nearly 15 years. Locally, the hotel booking pace for November is nearly 6% ahead of last year.
Marketing and Publicity Efforts Target Latin America
Attracting visitors from Latin America continues to be a strategic focus. In Brazil, we’ve launched a marketing campaign that promotes our destination’s diverse shopping opportunities, as Brazilians spend more, on average, in Orlando than visitors from any of our core markets. The campaign is running on TV, print, digital and social platforms, and includes a special landing page with exclusive offers. In addition, as a result of 10 destination orientations hosted by our Latin America team, Orlando has been featured in multiple stories in market this fall.
OTHER NEWS FROM VISIT ORLANDO
» From foodies to theme park thrill seekers, visitors are united by their fandom for our destination. With this in mind, we put Orlando’s fans on a pedestal as part of our recent “Fantastic Orlando” campaign on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The initiative celebrated our fans’ many unique stories, using their own words to showcase what’s new in the world they love. Check out the video recap.
» Our travel industry sales team has been on a mission to drive global visitation. In northern Europe, we recently trained nearly 200 travel professionals during our first-ever sales mission to Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm. In Brazil, our team educated 50 travel professionals on the U.S. visa process, what’s new in our destination and our newly enhanced Orlando Travel Academy.