Visit Orlando - Tourism Matters
Featured Event
Visit Orlando Luncheon

Our first signature luncheon of 2018 will feature an insightful conversation between Jonathan Tisch, chairman & CEO of Loews Hotels and Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.
Click here to register.


Join the Conversation
Its a Small World

What are the most legendary attractions at all of Orlando's theme parks? Visit Orlando's social media team looked into it, and some of the results might surprise you!


Visit Orlando Events

power hour

April 12
Member Meet-Up Happy Hour

Bar Louie - International Drive
Location: 8510 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
Time: 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Visit Orlando members, $20; non-members, $30
Register today to meet-up with fellow members at the new Bar Louie on International Drive. Members will enjoy appetizers, beer, wine and a signature cocktail from I-Drive's newest happy hour hot spot while making valuable business connections.
Click here to register.

power hour

April 18
Power Hour Lunch

The Alfond Inn
Location: 300 E. New England Ave.
Winter Park
Time: Noon to 1 p.m.
Cost: Visit Orlando members, $30
Connect with fellow members and hear an update on the expansion of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts from Vice President of Sales Barbara Drahl. It will be an hour filled with delicious food, networking and great information on the venue.
Click here to register.

member orientation

May 1
Member Orientation

Recommended for both new members and long time Visit Orlando members to learn:
• How Visit Orlando markets the area as a convention, meetings and visitor destination.
• The benefits of membership.
• How to take advantage of the value-added services available exclusively to members.
Click here to register.

Member Presents
Members interested in targeting the meetings and convention market can present their products or services during monthly, 30-minute sessions with Destination Services. Click here to schedule a session.

Member-to-Member Offers

Orange Lake

Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort is offering Visit Orlando members the chance to come celebrate the resort's 10th birthday and receive 10 percent off. Book now or call 866-892-5890 and ask for the birthday celebration rate: ILXD7.

Balmoral Resort pool

Book your next vacation rental at Balmoral Resort and save 20 percent now through May 31. Contemporary homes with private pools and spacious townhomes, just steps from the clubhouse. Click here or call 866-5-VILLAS.


Orlando City Soccer Club is extending a special offer to Visit Orlando members to all matches for the 2018 Orlando City season. Click here to purchase tickets (link does not work in Internet Explorer). Use promo code VO.

Orlando Watersports Complex is offering half-price riding every Wednesday from 2 p.m. to close. For redemption, mention offer code VOM2M.

The Escape Game Orlando is offering 10 percent off all games for Visit Orlando members. Book online by using offer code VisitORL_member10.

Visit Orlando members save $7 off general admission to Crayola Experience. Tickets must be purchased online at tickets.crayolaexperience.com using offer code VOM18.

Do you have an offer you would like to see posted? Submit an offer to Visit Orlando Member Relations here.

Industry Events

April 12
I-Drive Chamber Luncheon

Walt Disney World

April 25
HSMAI Luncheon

Wyndham International Drive

May 10
Visit Orlando's Celebrating Travel & Tourism Luncheon

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

Community Events

Parramore Farmers Market
Orlando City Stadium

Winter Park Farmers Market
Winter Park

Orlando Farmers Market
Lake Eola Park

Second Thursday of Every Month
Thornton Park's Wine and Art Walk
Thornton Park District

Through April 15
Florida Film Festival

Through April 21
Celebrating 75 Years Pathway of American Art
Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

Through April 22
Nature Connects® Art with LEGO®
Harry P. Leu Gardens

Through April 22
Art31: Fiber
Maitland Arts Center


Through May 28
International Flower and Garden Festival

Connect With Visit Orlando

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President & CEO's Message

April 10, 2018

Surging Ahead in Growth, Opportunity

George Aguel

Coming off another highly successful spring-break season -- as you'll read in this edition of Tourism Matters -- our destination continues to surge ahead in a number of ways, from impressive employment gains to industrywide recognition for our pacesetting accomplishments.

To quote a recent article in Inc. magazine, Orlando really is a "hot spot" for growth and opportunity, with tourism playing a vital role alongside our nationally recognized universities, high-tech ecosystem and general quality of life.

It's takes strong leadership to make our destination great, and the same will be required to guide us into the future. With that in mind, I want to congratulate retiring UCF President John C. Hitt, a true visionary, for his 26 years of service to our community and incoming president Dale Whittaker, who will build upon Dr. Hitt's legacy. Visit Orlando has had a long and productive partnership with UCF, and we look forward to continuing that tradition under Dale's leadership.

At the same time, felicidades to Gaby Ortigoni for being selected to lead the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando as president and CEO. Her 20 years of service to our region's Hispanic community should be a tremendous asset for Central Florida's largest chamber.

We are fortunate to have such outstanding community leaders in our midst and along with the many others both in the public and private sectors, the future for our destination is indeed very bright.

-- George Aguel

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From the Research & Insights Desk of Visit Orlando
Industry Employment Grew 4.6 Percent in February

Leisure and hospitality employment in the Orlando metro statistical area rose 4.6 percent when compared to February last year, an increase of 11,600 jobs. Growth in industry employment outpaced the 3.8 percent year-over-year increase in total private employment in the Orlando area, accounting for 27 percent. Growth in leisure and hospitality employment has been a key contributor to the Orlando's unemployment rate of 3.4 percent, which is below the state and national rates of 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively (rates not seasonally adjusted).

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Visit Orlando Updates


Aguel Touts Orlando
in Successful Meetings

Successful Meetings magazine featured industry insights from Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel. From convention center improvements to new theme parks attractions, the article covers why Orlando's meetings, conventions and events sector is off to a strong start after a record performance in 2017. Read more here.


Visit Orlando Named
CVB of the Year

For the fifth consecutive year, Visit Orlando was awarded CVB of the Year by ConferenceDirect Associates at the organization's Annual Partner Meeting. The three-day event in Los Angeles was packed with one-on-one appointments, educational sessions and networking opportunities. ConferenceDirect is one of the world's leading providers of meeting and conference solutions and services.

USA Today

USA Today: Winter Park
'Foodie Hub' of Orlando

Visit Orlando's public relations team secured coverage in USA Today as part of an article headlined "America's secret suburban food scenes." Orlando, the author writes, "has become more of a foodie destination thanks in no small part to the suburb of Winter Park, Fla., just north of the city. From acclaimed barbecue to third wave coffee shops to James Beard Award-nominated chefs, Winter Park is the foodie hub of Orlando." Nearly 70 other regional and local media outlets also ran the article.


Getting Ready for
HIMMS Conventions

The convention sales and services team hosted Anthony Maggiore, senior manager of Meeting Services with HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Society), for a planning meeting and site visits. HIMSS's annual conventions will be in Orlando in 2019 and 2020, with an expected attendance of 40,000 people both years.



Campaign to Reach
LGBTQ Visitors

Visit Orlando's leisure marketing team and key members are launching a national, integrated marketing campaign focusing on LGBTQ adults ages 25+ with a propensity for travel. Elements of the campaign include print, digital display and paid social, as well as the production of a custom video highlighting the destination. For more information, contact advertising.coordinator@visitorlando.com.


Forbes Travel Guide
Features Orlando

Visit Orlando's public relations team secured a recent article in Forbes Travel Guide, titled "An Adult's Guide to Orlando Fun." The piece showcases Orlando's luxury experiences, dining and festivals geared toward adults. Some of the featured locations include Victoria & Albert's restaurant, Discovery Cove, Epcot, Disney Springs and the Central Florida Ale Trail.


Connecting with
Customers at CBI

Visit Orlando had a strong presence at the CBI Pharmaceutical Summit in Philadelphia March 25-28, where we met more than 75 qualified customers at our vibrant booth. Participating members were excited to connect with customers and develop business opportunities for Orlando.


OCCC Hosted 23 of
Top 240 Conventions

Orlando beat out such notable convention cities as Chicago, New York, Atlanta and Dallas for hosting the most large-scale conventions in 2017. According to Trade Show News Network, 23 of America's Top 240 shows were at the Orange County Convention Center, second only to Las Vegas, which has three convention facilities. Visit Orlando works in partnership with OCCC to secure tradeshows and events. Read more here.

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News About Orlando

At the Center

Group Meeting Start End Estimated Attendees Estimated Economic Impact
Emerald Expositions LLC RFID Journal Live 2018 April 10 April 12 3,000 $5,700,000
Informa Media Inc. Aviation Week MRO America's 2018 April 10 April 12 15,000 $28,500,000
Emerald Expositions LLC Digital Dealer April 10 April 12 3,000 $5,700,000
Vision Star Entertainment Inc. Europa Games Supplement, Nutrition & Apparel Expo April 14 April 15 10,000 $9,850,000
Florida Region of USA Volleyball Inc. Florida Volleyball Challenge April 20 April 22 19,000 $18,715,000
All Out Championships LLC All Out Season Showdown April 21 April 21 3,500 $3,447,500

Orlando No. 2 Easter
Choice for Europeans

A report from Hotelbeds Group ranked Orlando the second-most popular destination for Europeans, behind Paris, when it comes to Easter-period travel this year (New York, Rome and London round out the top five). The information is based on room nights booked through Hotelbed's large portfolio of partner hotels.

Read More

Orlando Poised to Be
the Next
'Hot Spot'

Silicon Valley is poised to lose more people than any other region in the country this year -- mainly due to affordability -- and journalist Jeff Barrett writes in Inc. that Orlando is in a position to capitalize on that exodus. He cites the power of UCF, a young downtown, and a talented high-tech workforce thanks to companies like Disney, Lockheed Martin and EA Sports.

Read More

Passenger Traffic Up
8 Percent at Airport

Orlando International Airport started 2018 by building on last year's record passenger traffic numbers. For January, MCO had more than 3.9 million travelers, which represents an 8 percent increase over the same time last year. Led by increased visitation from Brazil, international traffic climbed by 14.7 percent.

Read More

Whittaker Confirmed as
Next President of UCF

Last week, the Florida Board of Governors unanimously confirmed the selection of Dale Whittaker as the University of Central Florida's next president. Whittaker, who currently serves as UCF's provost and executive vice president, will become the university's fifth president on July 1. He will replace John C. Hitt, who is retiring from the presidency on June 30 after 26 years of dedicated service.

Read More


Mears Transportation
Sells Majority Stake

As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Mears Transportation, Central Florida's oldest taxi company and one of the largest in the Southeast, announced this week that a South Florida company has purchased majority ownership of the firm, with ambitious plans to merge Mears' traditional service with ride-share business tactics.

Read More

Airbnb: Orlando Tops
for Spring Break

A survey conducted in March by Airbnb of 1,003 adults found that Orlando was the No. 1 spring break destination for families. Additionally, more than seven in 10 families say they would take one vacation this year.

Read More

Ortigoni to Lead
Hispanic Chamber

Following a national search, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando has selected Gaby Ortigoni as its next president, starting April 9. With 20 years of experience serving the Central Florida Hispanic community, Ortigoni most recently was regional vice president of Prospera, a nonprofit economic development organization that assists Hispanic entrepreneurs.

Read More

Two Hotels Open
Near Mall at Millenia

Two new hotels under one roof opened this week near the Mall at Millenia: a 120-suite Residence Inn and 134-suite SpringHill Suites at 5403 Millenia Lakes Blvd. The hotels are owned by the PRISA Group and managed by Marriott International.

Read More

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Industry News

Business Travel Shows
Year-Over-Year Increase

According to TravelClick, business transient and group bookings for the next 12 months are up from the same time last year. Business transient bookings are up 1.4 percent and average daily rate for the segment is up 2.8 percent. Group bookings are up 0.4 percent from last year, and daily rate is up 2.8 percent.

Holiday Inn Express,
Marriott Earn Honors

The 2018 Temkin Experience Ratings note Holiday Inn Express and Marriott delivered the best customer experience in the hotel industry. Each earned a score of 78% and came in 34th place out of 318 companies across 20 industries. Overall, the hotel industry averaged a 70% rating and came in 7th place out of 20 industries.

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Southwest Best Airline
for Customer Service

Southwest Airlines delivers the best customer experience in the airline industry, according to the 2018 Temkin Experience Ratings. Of the nine airlines included in this year's ratings, Southwest earned the highest score with a rating of 76 percent, ranking it 51st overall out of 318 companies across 20 industries.

Read More

Social Media Profiles
Could Be Part of Vetting

As reported by the Associated Press, The State Department wants to require all U.S. visa applicants to submit social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers to assist in vetting potential immigrants and visitors. The department estimates it would affect 710,000 immigrant visa applicants and 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants, including those who want to come to the U.S. for business or education.

Read More

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Tourism Ambassadors
Academy Sports ARDA Bags Balmoral Resort BB&T
British Airways Clear Channel Outdoor Darden Florida Distributing Company Florida Hospital
The Florida Mall IOA The Mall at Millenia Orlando Economic Partnership Orlando Health
Orlando International Airport Orlando Magic Orlando Premium Outlets OUC Orlando Sanford Airport
Pegasus Transportation Smart City Sullivan Benefits Tupperware Brands Wells Fargo
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