From securing meetings and conventions to promoting Orlando on the world stage, here's your weekly look at what's happening across America's most visited destination.
New Funding Approved to Market, Brand and Sell Orlando
On Tuesday, Orange County leaders made an investment in the future of our community, allocating a higher percentage of visitor-funded revenue to market, brand and sell our destination. Under a plan approved by the Board of County Commissioners, Visit Orlando will receive an incremental percentage from the Tourist Development Tax, a 6% levy placed only on overnight visitors, to reach a larger audience of leisure travelers and convention organizers. The plan also includes increased funding for sports, along with a greater focus on cultural tourism opportunities. Tourism is our region's No. 1 industry, supporting 41% of our local workforce and an economic impact of $70 billion. We greatly appreciate our Orange County leadership's vision to ensure we remain the most visited destination in America.
Mayor Demings Joining Visit Orlando at WTM in London
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings will be joining us in London Nov. 4-6 for World Travel Market, an annual trade show that connects global travel providers and travel trade press with major destinations across the globe. The mayor will meet with tourism and airline executives instrumental in bringing visitors from Orlando's largest overseas market. He'll also hold a press conference with influential media representatives. We're excited about Mayor Demings' participation, as a reinforcement about our community's commitment to this important international market.
Building Relationships that Bring Meetings and Conventions to Orlando
In addition to our branding and marketing efforts, our sales team works closely with top meeting planners to book their events at the Orange County Convention Center and dozens of area hotels. Recently, we partnered with 15 member companies to host two events in Dallas, engaging with nearly 45 of the industry's biggest planners. We also partnered with six members to host 40 decision-makers from top travel associations during a sales mission in Washington, D.C. Through these continuous efforts and vested relationships, each year Visit Orlando is able to bring billions of dollars in economic impact to our destination from these business organizations.
Educating Key Travel Pros in Mexico
Visit Orlando, Aeroméxico and seven member companies conducted a sales mission to Mexico Oct. 14-17, reaching more than 550 travel professionals. Educational events in Mexico City, Merida and Monterrey provided sales tips and a variety of learning platforms on all that is new in Orlando. The mission helped us drive sales with key tour operators and ensure our destination remains top of mind.
Hurricane Dorian Causes Dip in September Hotel Occupancy
Metro Orlando's hotel occupancy for the month of September was 61.6%, down 9% from the same period last year. The prolonged threat of bad weather surrounding Hurricane Dorian impacted many vacationers' travel plans and caused a nearly 20% drop in occupancy the first week of September. In addition, we also saw a decrease in average daily rate for the month, dropping 3.2% to $104.78.
OTHER NEWS FROM VISIT ORLANDO
» Thanks to our public relations team, an article in Travel Pulse featured Orlando's Halloween events and credited us as "Halloween vacation capital of the world." The article was also syndicated on MSN.
» Visit Orlando hosted a dine-and-learn for top planners and clients from HelmsBriscoe Florida, a global leader in meeting site selection. Participants heard updates about what's new in our destination's business travel industry, including the planned expansion of the Orange County Convention Center.
» Visit Orlando partnered with four member companies Oct. 3 to host our first-ever training session in Los Angeles for 20 tour operators that serve markets in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. To help them better sell our destination, attendees learned about Orlando's new attractions and took part in our Orlando Travel Academy.
» Last week, Visit Orlando and the Orange County Convention Center successfully hosted Workday Rising's annual convention. More than 10,000 delegates, including celebrity keynote speakers Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jerry Seinfeld, attended the software company's event, which generated nearly $19.7 million in economic impact for our region. Workday Rising will return to Orlando in 2022.