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August 25, 2023


This week, new research by Tourism Economics found that as a result of 74 million visitors in 2022, our region's travel and tourism industry generated a total economic impact of 87.6 billion dollars, a 31% increase over 2021.

Tourism Economics is an Oxford Economics company focused on combining an understanding of the travel sector with proven economic tools. More than 500 companies, associations, and destinations work with Tourism Economics annually as a research partner.

According to Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics, "Orlando's 2022 visitor spending is 16% higher than 2019 levels, which is remarkable against the backdrop of national performance where travel spending barely reached pre-pandemic levels in 2022."

To put the numbers in perspective, Sacks compared visitor spending in Orlando to be the equivalent economic impact of 1,500 Taylor Swift concerts or a concert in our destination every night for four straight years!

Tourism Economics' data also found that for 2022, state and local taxes collected from visitor activity increased by $900 million, reaching $6.2 billion in 2022, 17% increase over 2021. This revenue funds essential services in the region, such as fire and law enforcement personnel, schoolteachers, and infrastructure, saving an average of $7,500 per household in taxes.

As we face headwinds ranging from the political climate to inflation, it is more important than ever to continue to invest in innovative, smart, data-driven strategies to inspire, promote and grow global travel to Orlando for economic and community benefit.

Recap of Visit Orlando's Insights Luncheon & General Session

Thank you to all the local elected officials, industry professionals, Visit Orlando member organizations and valued partners for attending Visit Orlando's Insights Luncheon & General Session. Also, a big thanks to our hosts, Walt Disney World Resort and Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. If you were unable to join us, here are a few more highlights from the luncheon:

Industry Updates: Visit Orlando's leadership team provided details on our destination's projected performance, insights on Orlando's global position with consumers and group business and updates about current marketing campaigns. According to research by Longwoods International, 89% of American travelers have travel plans in the next six months, however, 61% expect to compromise aspects of travel to save money. Corporate travel is showing continued growth although at a slower pace, up 2% year over year in the second quarter of 2023. To drive future business, we are launching integrated marketing efforts across international markets and reinforcing positive messaging in our marketing and social media efforts to change perceptions.

Panel Discussion: A panel of content creators and social media influencers shared their experiences on discovering some of Orlando's hidden treasures and provided social media best practices. Panel participants shared how they learned so much more about Orlando during the recent trips, particularly dining, outdoor and nightlife activities. Their advice for working with influencers is to develop ongoing relationships, not just one-time projects and focus on authenticity within the content. Trust the creator to know what will resonate with their audience.

Keynote: Keynote speaker, Jason Dorsey, president of The Center for Generational Kinetics, delivered an interactive presentation highlighting behavioral drivers across generations that impact employee recruitment, retention and development. Jason took us through a nostalgic look at our generational experiences growing up and tied those together to show how we can work successfully across generations. One of my favorite quotes from Jason was "Technology is only new if you remember the way it was before".

Visit Orlando's Magical Dining: We shared more about this year's program beneficiary recipient The Lifeboat Project and the tremendous work they are doing to raise awareness about human trafficking.

If you'd like to support the great work The Lifeboat Project is doing, make your reservations at One dollar from each $40 menu and two dollars from each $60 menu goes directly to The Able Trust and six local nonprofits in Orange County's six commission districts that provide services and resources to survivors of abuse in Central Florida.

Key Tourism Indicators

For the week ending August 19: Metro Orlando occupancy was 58.8%, down from last week's 63.2% and down 6% from the same week last year. The Average Daily Rate for the week was $152.93, down 2.1% from last year.

If Orlando hotels continue to follow the normal seasonality, occupancy levels are expected to remain lower for the next few weeks before starting to rise again in the second half of September. However, Labor Day hotel bookings are looking strong according to Travelclick's Advance Hotel bookings report and September is currently pacing at 6% above the prior year for advance bookings.

Industry Employment: The state labor report for July showed a small increase for overall employment in the Orlando MSA with a gain of 4,500 jobs (+0.3%) from June's report. The Leisure and Hospitality sector within the Orlando MSA lost 1,000 jobs from June to July and is now at 103% of pre-pandemic employment. The sector is comprised of three areas:

  • Food Services and Drinking Places decreased by 1.8% from June to July. The sector is currently at 103% of February 2020 employment.

  • Arts, Entertainment and Recreation grew by 0.1% from June to July. The sector is currently at 107% of February 2020 employment.

  • Accommodations grew by 1.8% from June to July. The sector is currently at 99% of February 2020 employment.

Across the Industry

TravelAbility Emerging Markets Summit: Visit Orlando received TravelAbility's "Accessibility Superstar Award" during the Emerging Markets Summit in Savannah, Georgia earlier this week. The award recognized Visit Orlando 's special needs services and online resources—including complimentary trip planning assistance and information on service providers offering medical and mobility equipment rentals—for travelers and more found on Orlando: Accessible Fun For All landing page. At the awards luncheon, Visit Orlando's Chief Marketing Officer Danielle Hollander shared proactive steps our destination has taken to create unique experiences for all visitors—especially those with physical or cognitive disabilities.

Women's Executive Council Scholarship:
We partnered with the Women's Executive Council of Orlando (WEC) and awarded a scholarship to Camila Hernandez to help pursue her dream of a career in the hospitality industry. Visit Orlando is pleased to support WEC's mission to empower women in our community. Congratulations to Camila and all the scholarship recipients!

Around the Destination

OBJ Best Places to Work Luncheon:
In celebration of Visit Orlando being named one of the Best Places to Work, team members attended a luncheon at SeaWorld's Ports of Call hosted by the Orlando Business Journal.

Visit Orlando Engaged!

Orlando Main Street Districts: 
Our team met with directors and representatives from Orlando Main Street Districts this week to discuss more opportunities to promote all aspects of Orlando beyond the parks, including public arts, local businesses, signature events and interesting people. These meetings are part of an evolving initiative to help foster a connection between Visit Orlando team members and each of our community's districts to tell the story of each neighborhood better to drive future visitation.

Pride Chamber:
This week, our team met with Daniel Sohn, the new president & CEO of The Pride Chamber. We shared information about Visit Orlando's role in marketing and selling the destination and discussed how we can work together to showcase our welcoming and inclusive destination. Thank you, Daniel, for your time, and we look forward to our continued partnership with the Pride Chamber.

ESTO Conference: The U.S. Travel Association hosted its annual Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO), uniting over 1,200 industry leaders and destination marketers in Savannah, GA. The event is pivotal in propelling the travel industry forward by providing essential tools and resources for destination marketing organizations, industry organizations and business professionals. During the conference, Visit Orlando's Director of Social Media & Content Adeta Gayah shared social media strategies on a TikTok for Business panel.

Welcome, Tax Collectors:
Mario Bass, chief operating officer, welcomed more than 500 tax collectors from around the state to our destination during the Florida Tax Collector Association's Fall Forum. During the opening event at Rosen Shingle Creek, Mario shared Central Florida's impact of tourism, what's new in Orlando and the current state of our industry. We look forward to hosting this group again in 2024!

In the News

Casandra Matej

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