Mayor Jerry Demings outlines vision for "the experimental prototype community of tomorrow."
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Visit Orlando
State of the County


Tourism Strengthens the State of Orange County

Last week, I had the pleasure of joining nearly 1,500 residents and community leaders at Mayor Jerry Demings’ 2019 State of the County address at the Orange County Convention Center.

In a fitting tribute to our region’s roots, the mayor began and ended his speech with his vision of making Orange County “the experimental prototype community of tomorrow,” built on innovation, collaboration and inclusion.

This idea of an EPCOT 2.0, if you will, provides our community a great model for progress, and our tourism industry is proud to play a leading role. As the mayor noted, “funds derived from tourism help improve the overall quality of life in Orange County,” generating a $70 billion impact that provides “a good indicator of (our) overall economic health.”

From the ongoing success and expansion plans at the Convention Center … to record-setting passenger count at Orlando International Airport … to bed taxes that fund a diversity of local projects, tourism greatly contributes to the strength of Orange County and Central Florida as a whole.
George Aquel President & CEO George Aguel
President & CEO


Orlando Top Destination for Memorial Day Travel

Orlando is the top destination in the U.S. for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, based on advance AAA Travel bookings. New York City and Las Vegas round out the top three. Overall, AAA forecasts nearly 43 million Americans will travel over the Memorial Day weekend, a 3.6% increase over last year. It is also the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes in 2000.


Hermes Creative Awards


More Awards for ‘BIG
Thank You’ Campaign

Our 2017 publicity campaign “Orlando’s BIG Thank You” recently won two platinum awards at the international Hermes Creative Awards. Judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, the awards recognize outstanding achievement and service to the profession. “Orlando's BIG Thank You,” which featured dozens of member companies and community leaders thanking people for visiting our destination, has now won 13 awards across the world.


Inaugural Colombian 
Roadshow a Success

Visit Orlando and our theme park partners held an inaugural travel industry sales roadshow in Colombia April 23-26, helping educate more than 300 travel advisers on everything our destination has to offer. The event took place in the key cities of Medellin, Cali and Bogota.
Sapphire Now


SAPPHIRE Generates 
$40M for Orlando

Visit Orlando and the OCCC successfully hosted SAPPHIRE NOW and the ASUG Annual Conference May 6 at the Orange County Convention Center. More than 20,000 delegates attended the global business systems software event May 7-9, generating nearly $40 million in economic impact for our region. SAPPHIRE NOW and the ASUG conference will return to Orlando in 2020.
Top Meetings


Six M&C Media 
Explore Orlando

Visit Orlando hosted a destination orientation for six top meetings and conventions publications May 6-10. The group experienced what's new, including a visit to the Orange County Convention Center and the destination’s hotels, unique meeting spaces, attractions and dining.


Connecting with Meeting 
Planners in Atlanta 

Visit Orlando and members conducted a sales mission in Atlanta last month, connecting with more than 50 association, corporate and intermediary meeting planners to build relationships for future in-house and citywide business.


Hospitality Leaders
Named CEOs of Year

Visit Orlando board member Thibaut van Marcke, president of Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, and former board member Mark McHugh, president of Gatorland, were honored as CEOs of the Year by the Orlando Business Journal May 10 at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.


Rogue Gallart
Rogue Gallart, president of the Central Florida Disability Center, passed away this weekend. Gallart was a longtime Visit Orlando member and an inspirational community partner. His legacy will live on in the hearts of the many people he impacted. Our condolences to his wife, April, son Alexander, friends and colleagues.


New ICON Park Attractions to Debut in 2020

Entertainment district will add the Orlando Slingshot and Orlando Gyro Drop Tower. Read More

Rosen College Publishes Research Magazine

“Rosen Research Review” focuses on intersection of hospitality and academia. Read More

Uber’s PIN Feature to Cut Wait Times at Airports

Riders will receive a single-use number, allowing them to use any available driver. Read More

Google Launches New ‘Trips’ Portal

Users can access flights, hotels, tour packages and other information in one place. Read More


Power Hour

Power Hour Lunch 
Wednesday, June 12 

Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant 
Noon to 1 p.m.

Register today to enjoy a tapas-style lunch on Church Street in downtown Orlando and make valuable business connections with fellow members.



These upcoming events at the Orange County Convention Center will generate a combined economic impact of over $150 million.

May 25-27

AAU 18U Girls Junior National Volleyball Championships 
Estimated Attendance: 2,500

May 29-June 1

ACSM Annual Meeting
(American College of Sports Medicine) 
Estimated Attendance: 6,900

June 2-3

Premiere Orlando 
(International Beauty Event)

Estimated Attendance: 57,000

June 2-4

IDDBA Orlando 
(International Dairy Deli Bakery Association)

Estimated Attendance: 10,000


salaries graphic

On average, Americans whose first job was in the travel industry achieve higher salaries than most other industries. According to Oxford Economics, people in this group went on to earn an average salary of $82,400 by age 50.

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