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April 7, 2023


Today, Visit Orlando, along with the City of Orlando, Orange County and the Orlando Economic Partnership, celebrated #407Day (April 7) by unveiling our "Unbelievably Real" mural on the corner of Orange Avenue and Pine Street in downtown Orlando.

#407Day is a celebration inspired by our destination's longtime area code and encourages residents to support their favorite local businesses and fosters hometown pride.

Nearly a year after the global launch of our 'Unbelievably Real' brand, we are excited to bring home a mural designed by an Orlando artist that is a visual representation of our entire destination, incorporating everything from our theme parks and beloved landmarks to elements of our dining, arts, culture and technology scenes that showcase Orlando's dynamic nature.

During the program, City of Orlando Poet Laureate, Shawn Welcome, presented his poem "Unbelievably Real," vocalizing our destination's many beautiful aspects and how "innovation is limitless" in Orlando.

A big thanks to City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings and Orlando Economic Partnership's president and CEO, Tim Giuliani, for joining today's celebration, along with Orange County Commissioner District 6 Mike Scott and City of Orlando Commissioners District 3 Robert Stuart, District 4 Patty Sheehan, District 5 Regina Hill and District 6 Bakari Burns.

We've also partnered with the local blog, Tasty Chomps, on a special social media giveaway in honor of #407Day. Post photos or selfies with the mural and tag Visit Orlando (@visitorlando) and Tasty Chomps (@tastychomps) on Instagram by April 17 to win prizes from local businesses, attractions and restaurants, ranging from JoJo's ShakeBAR and The Nauti Lobstah to Wonderworks, Reflections Spa & Salon and more.

Join us in celebrating #407Day and learn more by viewing Visit Orlando's latest press release and blog.

Eight Orlando Restaurants Added to the MICHELIN Guide

This week, the MICHELIN Guide announced eight Orlando restaurant additions—Toledo, Twenty Pho Hour, Victoria & Albert's, Doshi, Edoboy, Otto's High Dive, Kaya and Juju. Next month on May 11 in Miami, Michelin will host an awards celebration to reveal new MICHELIN Stars, Bib Gourmands and other distinctions for Orlando, Miami and Tampa.

Visit Orlando's Signature Luncheon: Keynote Announced

Two-time Emmy Award-winning TV personality and travel expert Samantha Brown will explore the emotional value of travel at Visit Orlando's Travel & Tourism Event & Luncheon on May 11. At the general session, the EVP of Travel Intelligence at MMGY, Chris Davidson, will discuss Inclusivity in Travel: A Profile of Travelers with Disabilities & LGBTQ+ Travelers. Visit Orlando's director of market research & insights, Maria Henson will provide information on trends, performance and an outlook for 2023.

Learn more and register for Visit Orlando's first Signature Luncheon of 2023, which also celebrates National Travel and Tourism Week!

Single or 3-series corporate table sponsorships are available for purchase. Email our member recruitment manager, Kelly Kinney, to secure your sponsorship today.

February 2023 TDT Collections

Orange County's Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections for February came in at $32.6 million—a 14.2% increase over February 2022, $22.3 million higher than February 2021 earnings and $3.6 million higher than January 2023.

For February, hotel demand and the average daily rate at Orlando area hotels posted a double-digit increase over 2022. Metro Orlando's occupancy rate for February was 82.3%, up 11% from 2022 and the average daily rate reached $215.79, up 16% from 2022.

Orange County government designates TDT funds for specific purposes, including promoting tourism, the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), sports stadiums and arenas, performing arts venues and museums.

Key Tourism Indicators

For the week ending April 1: Metro Orlando occupancy was 78.5%, down from last week's 81% and up 3.8% from the same week last year. The average daily rate was $243.03, up 16.8% from last year.

Industry Employment: February's state labor report showed an increase in the Orlando MSA with a gain of 14,400 jobs. The Leisure and Hospitality sector within the Orlando MSA gained 6,900 jobs from January to February raising it to 102% of pre-pandemic employment. This month marks a new record high for Orlando's employment which is comprised of three areas: 

  • Food Services and Drinking Places increased by 2.8% from January to February. The sector is currently at 104% of February 2020 employment.

  • Arts, Entertainment and Recreation increased by 2% from January to February. The sector is currently at 105% of February 2020 employment.

  • Accommodations increased by 2.6% from January to February. The sector is currently at 93% of February 2020 employment.

Across the Industry

Orlando Named Best City: Southern Living has listed Orlando as The South's Best Cities 2023, highlighting Orlando's notable amusement and theme parks, beyond-the-parks experiences, award-winning chefs and more. This is excellent news that increases awareness on why Orlando is Unbelievably Real.

Around the Destination

2023 Women Who Mean Business: Orlando Business Journal (OBJ) named 23 Central Florida leading women executives to their 2023 Women Who Mean Business. I am honored to have been selected for the distinguished honor and to be named OBJ's 2023 Businesswoman of the Year. This recognition reflects the hard work of the entire Visit Orlando team to inspire, promote and grow global travel to Orlando. Thanks, OBJ, for this award, and congratulations to each honoree for the creativity, inspiration and success you bring to our fantastic destination.

MegaCon Orlando: MegaCon, one of North America's largest comics, sci-fi, horror, anime, and gaming events that attracts thousands of people, just concluded at the Orange County Convention Center. View this year's success by watching this recap video. MegaCon will return to Orlando February 1-4, 2024, at the OCCC, and tickets are already available.

Visit Orlando Engaged!

Meeting with British Airways: Visit Orlando's marketing and travel industry sales teams met with members of British Airways Holidays' leadership team. British Airways is one of the UK's largest and most significant travel industry partners and has been flying direct to Orlando for 38 years.

BA and Universal Orlando Resort are the official sponsors of the season finale of one of the UK's most popular TV entertainment shows, Saturday Night Takeaway. More than 250 viewers won seats on a specially chartered British Airways flight that arrived in Orlando on Monday. And all winners will also be part of a live broadcast of Saturday Night Takeaway from Universal Orlando Resort to an audience of millions in the UK & Ireland. Visit Orlando has partnered with Universal to co-sponsor commercials in the ad breaks during the broadcast.

IACC Women's Empowerment Panel:
Last week, Visit Orlando's director of convention marketing, Ishma Haider, participated in a panel discussion during the Indian American Chamber of Commerce's (IACC) She Connects Women Empowerment event. Alongside panelists, including Orlando Magic, Orlando Health and other regional female leaders, Ishma provided an overview of Visit Orlando, her role and responsibilities and updates on the tourism industry.

In the News

Casandra Matej

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