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January 12, 2024


This week, your Visit Orlando team attended two major conferences within the meetings industry, Professional Convention Management Association's (PCMA) Convening Leaders and Religious Conference Management Association's (RCMA) Emerge Conference showcasing Orlando's diverse offerings for meetings and convention groups while showcasing our destination's leadership in the meetings and conventions industry.

PCMA Convening Leaders, held in San Diego, CA., brought together business events professionals and community leaders from around the world. As PCMA Uber partners, Visit Orlando and the Orange County Convention Center had a major presence at the show which included:

  • A main stage performance featuring our own City of Orlando Poet Laureate Shawn Welcome and local singers from Hawkmoon Entertainment who dazzled the audience of 5,000 attendees with a high-energy, musical rendition of the Unbelievably Real poem. After the show myself and Mark Tester, executive director of the Orange County Convention Center, shared the latest destination news.

  • Visit Orlando and Orange County Convention Center sales teams networked with current and perspective clients at our booth on the trade show floor while the communications team conducted media interviews with Meetings Today and Smart Meetings.

  • Sponsoring and hosting a Hosted Buyer Luncheon to facilitate business discussions between qualified buyers and partners, followed by appointments with event organizers responsible for contracting destinations and services for their organizations.

  • Hosting more than 100 key clients during an evening networking reception complete with a rooftop experience.

After PCMA Convene Leaders, we took the show on the road to San Antonio, TX for RCMA's Emerge, the world's largest faith-based events association conference, for another Unbelievably Real main stage performance from Shawn Welcome during a Visit Orlando-sponsored luncheon for planners.  

It was a fantastic and productive week sharing what makes Orlando the top meetings destination in the country.

Participate in DestinationNEXT Survey

Visit Orlando is embarking on an important assessment of how Orlando and Orange County score as a visitor destination, and we need your feedback. The assessment is a benchmark survey of key stakeholders in: Tourism, Business, Education and Government to name a few. The questions represent a broad set of topics addressing various elements of our community, including elements which may seem beyond the scope of Visit Orlando's work, but are relevant to visitors' experiences. Access the survey and use the password dnext when prompted.

November 2023 TDT Collections

Orange County's Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections for November came in at $29.7 million—a 4% decrease compared to November 2022. November 2023 collections were higher than October 2023 collections by $285,000 and higher than November 2021 collections by $4.6 million.  
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, museums and events.

Key Tourism Indicators

For the week ending January 6: Metro Orlando occupancy was 69.2%, down from last week's 76.4% rate and down 3.2% from the same week last year. The Average Daily Rate was $203.33, down from $246 the prior week but up 7.9% from the same week last year. The drop from last week for occupancy rate and the ADR was expected on account of last week's performance being elevated by the Christmas holiday.

Orlando's hotels' performance was once again much higher than the national and Florida averages.

Industry Employment: The state labor report for November showed an increase for overall employment in the Orlando MSA with a gain of 11,300 jobs (0.8%) from October's report. The Leisure and Hospitality sector in the Orlando MSA gained 1,800 jobs (0.6%) from October to November and is now at 103% of pre-pandemic employment. The sector is comprised of three areas:

  • Food Services and Drinking Places grew by 1.7% from October to November. The sector is currently at 108% of February 2020 employment.
  • Arts, Entertainment and Recreation fell by 1.2% from October to November. The sector is currently at 100% of February 2020 employment.
  • Accommodations grew by 1.1% from October to November. The sector is currently at 98% of February 2020 employment.

Across the Industry

Brian Comes Announcement:
Visit Orlando Board Member (Past Chair) Brian Comes will now serve as Hyatt's Vice President of Field Operations for the Timeless East and Central region, leading a group of Hyatt Regency and Grand Hyatt branded hotels. Brian recently served as Area Vice President and General Manager at Hyatt Regency, spearheading significant results, including CVENT recognizing Hyatt Regency Orlando as Florida's #1 Hotel for Meetings and the Orlando Sentinel labeling the hotel as the #1 Large Employer in Orlando. Continue to do great work for Orlando and the tourism industry and congratulations on a new chapter, Brian!

Legislative Fly-In:
The Florida Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Legislative Fly-In in Tallahassee, providing opportunities to connect with Florida's elected leaders, lawmakers and business leaders. Visit Orlando's Director of Community Relations & External Affairs Kristin Westover attended on behalf of the organization and joined The Orlando Economic Partnership at the 2024 State Legislative Session Welcome Dinner. The event included networking and an opportunity to share the Orlando Region's legislative focus. The Florida Lottery's Secretary, John F. Davis, and the Florida Department of Commerce's Secretary, Alex Kelly, were speakers at the dinner. View the Florida Chamber's and Orlando Economic Partnership's priorities.

Around the Destination

Orlando MLK Day Initiatives:
On Monday, U.S. Hunger, the Orange County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Initiative and the Orlando Mayor's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission are hosting a unique MLK Day of Service event at the Orange County Convention Center. Community members will unite to package one million nutritious meals supporting local families in Central Florida. Consider signing up for a shift and participating in a great cause. Additionally, there are more ways to become involved in celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. View the various Orange County and City of Orlando MLK events and initiatives.

City of Orlando Oath of Office Ceremony:
City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Commissioners Tony Ortiz, Patty Sheehan and Bakari Burns were sworn into office at its traditional Oath of Office Ceremony, kicking off the start of a new 4-year term. The event lays the foundation for elected officials to begin their service to Orlando residents. Congratulations, Mayor Dyer and Commissioners! Watch a recap of the Oath of Office Ceremony.

Celebrating Arts & Culture:
United Arts Central Florida held its Community Impact Breakfast celebrating the social and economic impact of Central Florida artists, arts and cultural organizations. The event's speakers included President & CEO of United Arts of Central Florida Jennifer Evins, President & CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership Tim Giuliani, and representatives from Americans for the Arts and Americans for the Arts Action Fund. United Arts also held an event Art & Artistry celebrating 25 years of Orlando Arts Magazine now named Artistry.

Orlando City Soccer Club: We've teamed up with Orlando City to offer you a special pre-sale on 2024 regular season home matches! Orlando City kicks off their 2024 regular season on Feb. 24 against CF Montreal. Grab the best seats before the public by purchasing through an exclusive link. Select the match you want to attend & use code CITY24. For questions or to purchase seats for a group of 10 or more, email Tickets go on sale to the general public on Jan. 16 at 10 a.m.

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