At the start of every year, I often wish for a crystal ball to see into the future. As your Visit Orlando team charges ahead on executing our 2024 plans, we are fortunate to have the next best thing—research and insights.
We often refer to our research and insights team as the brain of our organization. The brain directs the planning and execution of the entire body's movements. For us, that means every move we make is well thought out and grounded in research.
Through research, Visit Orlando is strategic and efficient in our sales and marketing efforts, with the ultimate goal of growing global travel to Orlando for economic and community benefit.
Looking ahead through the first quarter, our data shows a solid start to the year. Orlando's travel performance is trending up in comparison to last year. Currently, booked room nights are pacing ahead of 2023 by 5%, with both leisure and business travel segments looking healthy.
Airline service to the Orlando area continues to grow with domestic and international service contributing to the increase. Direct seat capacity for the first quarter is up by 11% compared to the same time in 2023. In addition, advanced airline ticket sales into Orlando for the first quarter are pacing 10% ahead of the same time last year.
Events at the Orange County Convention Center are also proving strong this month, projecting more than 140,000 attendees in January with headline events like the North American Veterinary Community's VMX 2024 and the PGA Show 2024.
As a destination, we are fortunate to have many new and exciting developments opening this year. Now available on Visit Orlando's consumer blog is a new post sharing 24+ New Reasons to Visit Orlando in 2024. The blog introduces fresh additions in Orlando, including attractions at our theme parks and beyond, new and upgraded places to stay, highly anticipated restaurants and more.
We have a lot to look forward to in 2024, and I thank you for your partnership and support as we embrace another year where we invite the world to experience our Unbelievably Real destination.