For several weeks, businesses and local governments across Orlando have emphasized the importance of wearing face masks as an essential part of safely reopening our destination. In fact, it's a pillar of our regionwide Safer, Stronger, Together campaign.
Now, research shows that a destination's face-mask requirements actually attract, not deter, tourists.
At this week's meeting of the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, I shared how over two-thirds of all U.S. travelers plan to wear a mask on trips. Likewise, two-thirds would be happy to see a destination require visitors and residents to wear face masks in public; only 2% would change their travel plans because of such a rule.
Additionally, 8 in 10 Americans say they are more likely to do business with a company that requires both customers and employees to wear face masks.
These consumer insights, of course, spell good news for the Orlando region, which has been on the forefront of enacting industry-leading health and safety measures for residents and visitors alike. From our theme parks and attractions to restaurants, hotels, airport and convention center, our entire tourism industry is committed to the highest standards.
Going forward, health and safety will continue to be a key message of Visit Orlando's marketing and publicity efforts. Our region's economic prospects hinge on visitors feeling comfortable and confident in how our destination is handling this crisis, so I encourage everyone to do their part.
To help stem the effects of COVID-19, Orange County has established strike teams that will be visiting businesses to educate them on compliance and provide PPE such as masks and hand sanitizer, if necessary. They will be looking for four areas of compliance regarding how businesses:
Maintain check points and marks floors to assist patrons in staying six feet apart.
Post signage reminding patrons and employees to wear masks, social distance and follow safety protocols.
Per Mayor Demings' executive order, every person working, living, visiting or doing business in Orange County is required to wear a facial covering, consistent with CDC guidelines, while in public. For more on how businesses and individuals can minimize the spread of COVID-19, visit DoYourPartOrl.com.
#LoveOrlando Campaign: On social media, our new #LoveOrlando campaign is tapping into the passion people have for our destination. Leveraging user-generated content, #LoveOrlando is also an effective way to showcase our health and safety measures, open-air theme park experiences, unforgettable ecotourism adventures and outdoor fun the whole family can enjoy.
Visit Orlando's Magical Dining: Get your appetite ready, as Visit Orlando's Magical Dining will return for its 15th year Aug. 28 through Oct. 4. Participating restaurants are going above and beyond to protect patrons' health and safety, offering three-course, dine-in and takeout options for $35. As always, $1 from each meal will benefit one or more deserving local charities, with the recipients to be announced before the start of this year's program.
Together Again: This morning, Visit Orlando Chief Sales Officer Mike Waterman was invited to serve on a panel at the Together Again Expo, a collaboration among event industry leaders and innovators. Taking place at the Orange County Convention Center, Together Again focused on new strategies and approaches for smart and secure event environments. Panelists included representatives from OCCC, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, United Service Companies, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Rosen Centre Hotel, Hilton Orlando, Hyatt Regency Orlando and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.
Yelp "Tips and Tools" Webinar: Join us Wednesday, July 29, at 10 a.m. as Andi Perez, senior community director at Yelp Orlando, shares how to put your best foot forward when telling your story on your business page. Click here to register or view our previous webinars full of current industry insights, research and best practices.
Tourism Jobs: Leisure & Hospitality employment reached 146,100 in June, an increase of 29,200 (+25%) from the previous month but down 47% from June 2019. July's employment should continue to show improvement, bolstered by the reopening of Disney theme parks and several area hotels.
Hotel Metrics: Metro Orlando's occupancy rate for the week ending July 18 was 30.1%, up from 28.9% the previous week and our highest level since the pandemic. Average daily rate increased about $3 to $86.85.