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Tourism Matters - Visit Orlando

September 24, 2021

Casandra Matej, President and CEO of Visit Orlando, offers a brief overview of our participation in this year's IPW

Hello ,

It’s been a big week for Visit Orlando and the entire U.S. travel industry! 

As you’ll see in the video above, we’ve spent the past few days in Las Vegas connecting with global travel buyers, journalists and hundreds of industry leaders at IPW, the world’s largest travel trade show.  

This is a key event for us every year, but it took on added significance after Monday’s announcement that the United States will reopen our borders in November to overseas travelers who have received COVID-19 vaccines. 

As we mentioned in a special communication this week, our destination is well-positioned to capitalize on this long-awaited turn of events. A few weeks ago, we expanded our Wonder Remains campaign to three of our top international markets (Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico), and we’ve since secured strong media coverage on how Orlando is ready for the influx of demand.  

In addition, we’re thrilled that IPW will be coming to Orlando next year, bringing an estimated 6,000 attendees and helping us build even more momentum for the return of international travel.   

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining continues to generate strong media coverage across Central Florida

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Shines Spotlight on Restaurants, Hotels & Charities   

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining continues to generate strong media coverage across Central Florida, including promotion of our exciting Magical Nights program. From social media posts to articles and broadcast news outlets, the hype remains high, which is good news for our charities, each benefiting from $1 donated per meal served in the program.  
You still have three weeks to contribute to this good cause, so I encourage you to get out there and dine! Visit to view menus from more than 90 restaurants serving three-course meals for $37, now through Oct. 17. 

Orlando MSA Tourism Employment Chart

Leisure & Hospitality Employment Continues Gradual Climb   

Employment growth in Orlando’s leisure and hospitality sector slowed last month, rising only 0.6% from July to August. This can be attributed to the seasonal slowdown in travel as summer ends, which was compounded this year by the delta variant spike in COVID cases. Employment in the leisure & hospitality sector is at 73% of pre-pandemic peak levels (February 2020), while total employment is at 92% of peak. 

Visit Orlando recently had the honor of hosting Mayor Luis Irizarry Pabón and a delegation of officials from Ponce, Puerto Rico

Orlando Hosts Mayor of Ponce, Puerto Rico 

Arranged through Orlando’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, Visit Orlando recently had the honor of hosting Mayor Luis Irizarry Pabón and a delegation of officials from Ponce, Puerto Rico for a presentation by members of our travel industry sales team. The group learned about our strategies to promote Orlando as a destination for vacation, business and conventions. Mayor Pabón is aiming to increase international tourism and business opportunities in Ponce, and he was grateful to learn more about Orlando’s success in these areas. 

Visit Orlando Quarterly Update 

This morning, I provided Visit Orlando’s quarterly update to Orange County’s Tourist Development Council, offering insights into the state of our industry and highlighting recent initiatives such as our three-year strategic plan, marketing campaigns and Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining. View the presentation here.

Hotel Performance Slips in August 

On the heels of a strong July, August occupancy in metro Orlando (52.2%) experienced a substantial drop, falling nearly 24 percentage points from the previous month and 16 percentage points from August 2019. Average daily rate ($113.68) remained the bright spot, far exceeding August 2020 ($83.25) and August 2019 ($107.01). The occupancy drop-off can be attributed to a combination of seasonal patterns and weaker travel sentiment due to the COVID-19 delta variant. 
For the week ending September 18, Metro Orlando hotel occupancy remained unchanged from the past two weeks at 46.5%. Average daily rate rose $1.80 to $109.03.

Free Webinar: I-Drive District Transportation Projects Update 

The International Drive Business Improvement District is providing an update on several key transportation projects during a free virtual webinar (registration required) Sept. 29 from 10 to 11 a.m. Topics include: I-Drive transit lanes, the I-Drive premium transit system, improvements to Sand Lake Road and the I-4 interchange. 

Across the Industry

LUX Life: Visit Orlando wins Excellence Award in Tourism Marketing
Reuters: U.S. to relax travel restrictions for vaccinated foreign air travelers in November 
Travelmole: Visit Orlando preps for the return of UK visitors 
The Sun: Orlando beckons this fall with thinner crowds, new attractions 
WKMG: Seats on international flights to Orlando may double by December   
Exhibitor Online: Industry leaders make case for return of business travel 
NPR: Modelers project a calming of the pandemic in the U.S. this winter
TravelPulse: Congress hears testimony on importance of infrastructure to travel recovery 

Casandra Matej
In your service,
Casandra Matej
Casandra Matej | President & CEO
Visit Orlando
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