Hotel and air passenger growth leading the way for America's most-visited destination.
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FROM THE PRESIDENT & CEO
Signs Point to Another Record Year for Tourism
Last issue, I noted that 2018 -- despite fourth-quarter projections that signal a small dip in hotel demand and international travel -- will likely go down as another record year for our tourism industry.
To illustrate, here are a few areas where we're seeing the most success.
• In the lodging sector, the average daily room rate ($127.62) is at an all-time high, and hotel occupancy (78.8 percent) continues to be well above state and national averages.
• Year to date, revenue from Orange County's tourist development tax, levied on overnight visitors, has climbed 8.8 percent.
• Passenger traffic at Orlando International Airport, now the state’s busiest, is also up 5.4 percent year to date, and is on pace to surpass 47 million on a rolling 12-month basis.
Add it all up and it’s been a very strong year for Orlando’s No. 1 industry. We’ll continue to monitor performance and keep you posted on any changes that might impact the future.
President & CEO
RESEARCH & INSIGHTS
Busy Fourth Quarter at the Convention Center
The Orange County Convention Center is set to end the year with a strong fourth quarter, as approximately a quarter-million people (nearly 5 percent more than Q4 2017) are expected to attend a convention or tradeshow. That would bring the annual total to more than 1.2 million — among the top three years for attendance in OCCC’s history.
VISIT ORLANDO ACTIVITIES
Aguel Speaks on Tourism
and Destination Events
Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel spoke to 100 business and community leaders Oct. 5 about the intersection of tourism and events that draw thousands of visitors to our destination. The meeting, held at Drive Shack Orlando, was sponsored by the American Diabetes Association in advance of its annual Tour de Cure bicycling fundraiser in March. Joining Aguel as speakers were (L to R): Corey Munoz, KPMG; Leslie Hielema, GuideWell; Andy Odenbach, Tavistock; and Jason Siegel, GO Sports.
Latin America Travel
Pros Visit Orlando
In partnership with Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, Visit Orlando hosted more than 330 travel professionals from Latin America and the Caribbean last month during a destination orientation. Participants of Galaxy Vacations’ annual megaFAM networked with 21 Visit Orlando members in areas such as lodging, attractions, retail and dining. In addition, Visit Orlando recently partnered with Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Parks to train 88 LATAM travel pros on how to effectively promote our destination and book direct flights.
Top UK Media Explore
To drive awareness about Orlando during key booking periods, Visit Orlando’s public relations team welcomed several UK journalists this month to experience the destination’s diversity in attractions, outdoor activities and dining. Participants represented top outlets including the Daily Mirror, Sunday Independent, Daily Star, Irish Sun and New Magazine.
Top-tier lifestyle and travel influencer @BellaBucchiotti visited Orlando last month, generating more than 2.7 impressions ahead of a key booking period. Bella experienced thrills at Universal Orlando and Insta-worthy adventures at outdoor attractions, sharing six posts on social media as well as a YouTube video
. The coverage was a result of a destination orientation led by the Visit Orlando public relations team to target Canadian millennials.
Scotland's No. 1 Paper
Visit Orlando’s publicity team assisted with a double-page spread on our destination in the Daily Record, Scotland’s largest-circulation newspaper. The first-person story focused on thrills both in and outside the theme parks, reporting, “In the face of the most spectacular tourist attractions on Earth, my kids had just as much fun making crayon shapes and wax art. And that’s the key to finding balance in this town.”
Virgin Holidays Campaign
Set to Launch Next Week
Visit Orlando is partnering with Virgin Holidays and our members to drive bookings from the UK during the key September and October booking timeframe. Kicking off Oct. 22, the cooperative campaign will feature a takeover of the popular immersion zone at London’s St. Pancras station, as well as digital screens in key regional train stations. In addition, readers of Metro, the UK’s highest-circulation newspaper, will have a chance to win a trip to Orlando.
Big Crowds for Police,
With more than 18,000 participants, the International Association of Chiefs of Police had record-breaking attendance -- the highest in 125 years -- Oct. 7-9 at the Orange County Convention Center; the group will return to Orlando in 2026. Also at OCCC, more than 26,000 aviation professionals attended the National Business Aviation Association convention Oct. 16-18; the event will be held in Orlando every other year through 2030.
Key Meeting Planners
Seventeen meeting planners -- representing corporations and associations with the potential to bring significant meetings to Orlando -- visited our destination for a Visit Orlando-hosted orientation Oct. 3-5. Planners from Prestige Global, Lamont and Associates, and Global Cynergies, among others, toured various hotels and attractions including ICON 360 and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.