To view past issues of Tourism Matters, click here.

May 12, 2023


This week, we celebrated National Travel & Tourism Week (NTTW) and the impact the travel industry makes on our community.

Over 900 tourism and community leaders joined us at our annual Travel & Tourism event where we announced Orlando welcomed 74 million annual visitors in 2022. With a 25% increase in visitors over 2021, Orlando maintains its leadership position as America's most-visited destination.

This number is more than just a number. It saves local households more than $6,400 in annual taxes. Tourist spending also supports our local education, arts & culture, infrastructure and public safety.

To share that message, Visit Orlando launched a new local campaign to educate residents. Help us spread this message by utilizing this tool kit with ready-made social media posts about the value tourism brings to our destination.

Visit Orlando's President & CEO, Casandra Matej, and Visit Orlando team members pictured with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection during National Travel & Tourism Week.

As part of NTTW, here's a look at this week's community activities and events:

We thanked Central Florida's workforce—including the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration and the Tourist Oriented Policing Squad first responders of sectors five and six—for their direct involvement in promoting safety in our city for visitors and residents. We also presented the impact of travel and meetings and conventions, provided destination updates and the results from our global brand campaign, Unbelievably Real, to regional and cultural chambers of commerce.

Later in the week, we helped sort 12,750 meals for families in Central Florida with the Orange County Convention Center at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and connected industry professionals, partners and Visit Orlando members for our annual signature luncheon.

New Health Service for Business Travelers

In partnership with Orlando Health, Visit Orlando's Official Health and Wellness Partner, and the Orange County Convention Center, this week we unveiled the new Orlando Health Virtual Care Center. The Virtual Care Center will provide access to high-quality healthcare for meeting and conference attendees during large conventions and will be staffed by an Orlando Health team member who will help triage the needs or virtually connect visitors to a board-certified physician for minor care needs.

Michelin Announcements

Last night, Michelin hosted a special ceremony unveiling their new selection of Florida restaurants—in Orlando, Tampa and Miami—that received stars and notable awards. Beverage Director Benjamin Coutts at Soseki (One MICHELIN Star, Winter Park) earned the MICHELIN Sommelier Award. Four restaurants Isan Zaap (Orlando), Norigami (Winter Garden), Otto's High Dive (Orlando) and Taste of Chengdu (Orlando) also received the Bib Gourmand designation. Now, 46 Orlando restaurants are featured by Michelin, including 31 recommended restaurants, 11 Bib Gourmands and four Starred. Congratulations to the honored chefs and restaurants!

March 2023 TDT Collections

Orange County's Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections for March came in at $38.9 million—a 0.7% increase over March 2022, $21.4 million higher than March 2021 earnings and $6.3 million higher than February 2023.

Hotel Metrics

Metro Orlando occupancy for the week ending May 6, 2023, was 72.4%, down from last week's 73.9% but up 5.5% from the same week last year. The Average Daily Rate for the week was $201.71, up 7% from last year.

Around the Destination

Luminary Green Projection: The City of Orlando launched Luminary Nights on the Green at Luminary Green in Creative Village. The park celebrates and shines a light on community Luminaries, those who have preceded us but lived lives exemplified with service to the Parramore Community. This 20-minute light and sound show illuminates the Orlando sign and showcases Orlando's nature, innovation, thrills and hospitality.

With the Orlando Economic Partnership, we included a one-minute segment called "Awakening" as one of the OUR Culture Projects, uniquely bringing our destination's Unbelievably Real brand to life. I encourage you to visit the park and check out the show, which runs from dusk until 10 pm every evening.

Hotel Grand Opening: Orlando celebrated the opening of the new Drury Plaza Hotel. Visit Orlando chief sales officer, Mike Waterman, addressed attendees, alongside Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, Chuck Drury and Tom Drury from Drury Hotels, and senior VP at Disney Destinations Sales Solutions Javier Moreno. Later this year in June, the hotel will host the Industry Insights Forum and Member Meet-Up.

Consumer Show in Mexico City: Visit Orlando team members were in Mexico City this week sharing with travel advisors and media partners about all Orlando has to offer visitors. This event included trade initiatives in partnership with nine Visit Orlando members, training events for more than 250 travel professionals and interactive presentations to over 20 tour operators. Also, Visit Orlando's international marketing, sales, and public relations teams participated at The Outlet Viaja y Vuela, the largest Mexico consumer travel event. Our team hosted an interactive virtual roller coaster to highlight Orlando and encouraged travel package purchases on site.

Visit Orlando Engaged!

TDT Task Force: Today, we presented to the Tourist Development Task Force —consisting of a team of Orange County Government leaders and industry professionals—on how Visit Orlando helps bring in travelers, promote and enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors and drive bookings to the Orange County Convention Center and meeting hotels. We also shared how tourist development tax (TDT) is critical to promoting our regional brand, Unbelievably Real, and travel and tourism to our destination.

UCF Commencement
: I had the pleasure of speaking at the University of Central Florida's Spring Commencement Ceremony. It was an honor to encourage all graduates to remain focused, motivated and optimistic. I will remember this special moment for a lifetime. Congratulations again to Central Florida's future workforce and continue to Charge On!

HelmsBriscoe ABC 2023: Last week, Visit Orlando's sales team attended the 2023 HelmsBriscoe Annual Business Conference in Denver, CO. HelmsBriscoe is a global leader in meetings procurement and connects hundreds of exhibitors. Our team promoted Orlando's newly renovated hotels, exciting attractions and Michelin restaurants. They also conducted one-on-one sessions with associates from our destination members to solidify tentative citywide, in-house and business development group opportunities that span as far out as 2028.

In the News

Casandra Matej

Connect with Visit Orlando
The Official Tourism Association® of the No. 1 destination in the U.S.

©2023 Visit Orlando | All Rights Reserved.