This has been a busy week, full of promising activity, as our destination continues to take measured steps toward business resumption.
Bright spots are the recent reopenings of Universal CityWalk, Disney Springs and Icon Park, as well as reopening proposals from Universal Orlando and several smaller attractions. All were unanimously approved by the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force today.
Alongside other tourism industry leaders, I attended Wednesday's meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and Gov. Ron DeSantis, hosted by Harris Rosen and Visit Orlando board member Dan Giordano at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. We greatly appreciate the comments of strong support voiced by the vice president and governor for how Florida and our community is addressing our business recovery efforts.
In addition, it's encouraging to see all sectors of our industry — from the Orange County Convention Center and Orlando International Airport to leading hotel brands and so many attractions — rolling out new measures that will raise the health-safety bar and boost consumer confidence to visit Orlando.
As we rebuild our travel economy, it's imperative that potential visitors view Orlando as a safe, welcoming destination, and we're definitely working hard to gain that trust.
Occupancy Rates: Metro Orlando's hotel occupancy for the week ending May 16 rose to 20%, up from 16.4% the previous week and the largest weekly increase since the pandemic. The average daily rate also rose slightly from last week to $64.95, a decline of 45% from last year at this time.
TDT: Orange County Tourist Development Tax collections for March were $13.6 million, a 56.5% decrease from the same month last year and the lowest amount since September 2013. Despite this significant decline, unfortunately collections will be much worse in April, as it reflects the first full month of the pandemic-related economic shutdown.
Travel Readiness: Almost two-thirds of Americans (64%) have at least one trip planned (or tentatively planned) this year, and most of them have taken at least some steps toward their next trip such as:·talking to friends/relatives about trip (31.7%), researching things to do (23.3%), booking their accommodations (22.4%) and buying plane tickets (17.9%).
ORANGE COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER
Good news from the Convention Center, as the facility is preparing to become one of the nation's largest venues to receive GBAC STAR™ accreditation on outbreak prevention, response and recovery. Recognized as the gold standard of safe venues, GBAC STAR™ provides third-party validation to ensure the implementation of rigorous protocols in response to bio-risk situations.
In addition, the Convention Center has released its Recovery and Resiliency Guidelines, created to keep guests, employees and the community safe during trade shows, conventions and events.
JOIN US TO PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS
#4♥7Dates: As we continue to support local businesses, we encourage you to order takeout or delivery from hundreds of restaurants listed on VisitOrlando.com/togo. You can also participate in free virtual events as part of our #407Dates campaign. Here's what's on tap for this weekend:
Friday, May 22 (8 p.m.): Virtual Viewing of 'Happily Ever After' at Walt Disney World Resort
Saturday, May 23 (every hour from 1 p.m. - 10 p.m.): Virtual Orlando Fringe Festival
Special Offers: Visit Orlando members can submit special offers or Florida-resident discounts for inclusion on our DEALS webpage. For more information on how to submit your offer, contact our membership team.
TOURISM HELP HUB
Be sure to check out our dedicated Tourism Help Hub webpage regularly, as we continue to update information on financial and food assistance, employment opportunities and Visit Orlando programs to keep your business top of mind with consumers.
Business Resources: AdventHealth has launched a dedicated site geared toward helping businesses and nonprofits as they prepare to reopen.The new site includes safe business criteria and services, as well as general tips and other materials.
In Addition: New drive-through testing sites are now open in designated Walmart parking lots. While not a mandate, Orange County also strongly urges individuals to wear a facial covering when in public. For more information, visit Orange County's coronavirus webpage.