As we near the halfway point of the year, we wanted to share an update on national and global economic and travel trends that have potential to impact Orlando's travel and tourism industry. Data and insights are the foundation for everything we do at Visit Orlando, and we know it is important for our members and local businesses to stay up to date for their plans. Below are a few key insights from Tourism Economics, a global leader in travel and tourism research, and CoStar, a leader in the real estate and technology industry.

  • U.S. Economy Slowing: U.S. economic growth is moderating so far in Q1 2024, yet the impact of interest rate hikes has been slow to produce a cooling effect on inflation. Consumer spending, a key driver of economic activity, has remained robust despite personal income not keeping pace. Households are increasing relying on credit cards and loans for purchases. Rising interest rates on this debt and growing delinquencies indicate potential upcoming financial strains. The Biden administration $153 billion student loan debt forgiveness is also expected to benefit consumer spending, helping with cash flow.
     
  • Labor Market Remains Healthy: While unemployment remains historically low, strong job creation could contribute to wage growth and potentially drive inflation further.
     
  • Rate Cuts Delayed: Many economists agree that interest rate cuts are likely to be delayed until September, as the economy demonstrates resilience against inflation. Strong consumer spending, supported by a robust labor market, enables the Federal Reserve to adopt a patient approach to monetary policy adjustments. Growing geopolitical tensions in the Middle East are expected to trigger a large spike in oil prices, reinforcing the odds that interest rates will remain higher.
     
  • Upper-income travel strength persists: While wealthier households remain on the go, more budget-conscious travelers are likely cutting back to account for higher prices and interest rates.  The hotel demand disparity shows the upper upscale and luxury chains continue to experience growth while economy and midscale segments lag in year-over-year comparisons.
     
  • International Travel to the U.S. Grows: Overseas travel to the U.S. has rebounded to 88% of 2019 levels as of March 2024. Countries like India, Spain, Colombia and Italy are leading this recovery, while China's travel remains below pre-pandemic levels. However, currency depreciation in major markets makes U.S. travel more expensive, potentially impeding growth.
     
  • U.S. Resident International Travel Continues to Rise: International travel by U.S. residents has grown over the past year—rising by 23% in 2023 and up by another 13% in the first quarter of 2024.
     
  • Cruise Industry Renaissance: Global cruise passenger activity is expected to surpass pre-pandemic peaks by 18% in 2024, particularly driven by growing interest from younger generations.

What does this mean for Orlando? These insights make it clear that the price of travel remains one of the top constraints to travel, both domestically and internationally. Value and affordability are critical during a selection process for travel and should be considered as part of messaging strategies. Additionally, competition continues to grow, particularly for affluent households, as travel to destinations outside the U.S. and cruising increases.


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United Arts - AAPI Blog 2024 Images

Honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Each May, we pay tribute to the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the United States. Locally, the rich tapestry of AAPI culture is celebrated across the destination. From cherished landmarks like the Japanese rock garden and bridge located at Lake Eola and gifted by Tainan City in Taiwan to the annual cultural festivals and celebrations around Central Florida, Orlando offers many opportunities for residents and travelers to immerse themselves in the AAPI heritage. 

As a welcoming and inclusive destination, we pride ourselves on telling the stories of AAPI heritage in our community. Visit Orlando is collaborating with Ricky Ly, founder of the local award-winning Orlando multimedia food and travel guide, TastyChomps.com., highlighting Sampaguita Ice Cream & Desserts, Edoboy, a standing sushi bar, and more! Stay tuned as we’ll feature these venues on our channels throughout the month. In addition to our social channels, through Visit Orlando's blog and other marketing initiatives, we showcase Orlando's broad scope of experiences, lifting the voices of American and Pacific Islanders. Learn more about AAPI Heritage Month here.

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Visit Orlando representatives in the UK, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, India and Colombia celebrate Global Travel Agent Day.

Celebrating Global Travel Agent Day

This week, we celebrated Global Travel Advisor Day, honoring the incredible professionals who help us navigate the world with expertise, passion and wanderlust. Whether it's finding the perfect destination, scoring the best deals, or ensuring smooth journeys, travel advisors make our adventures unforgettable. And for those dreaming of the magic of Orlando, they're the ones who turn imaginations into itineraries.

Visit Orlando provides tools and resources for advisors to help drive visitation to Orlando, including hosting in-person training events, webinars, offering an interactive Orlando Virtual Tour and teaching through the Orlando Travel Academy—a premier training tool and educational resource that provides an in-depth guide to Orlando's neighborhoods, accommodations, theme parks and attractions, culture, dining, culture, ecotourism and more.

Call to Action: FAA Reauthorization Amendment

At Visit Orlando, advocating on behalf of our members and the tourism industry is a key priority. The U.S. Travel Association is actively opposing a Senate amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration bill that would restrict the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from using automated facial matching technology at airport checkpoints. This could lead to longer wait times, reduce security measures, and waste taxpayer-funded programs for biometric screening technology. If you feel comfortable and would like to do so, I encourage you to contact our U.S. Senators and Congress members and let them know how this amendment will negatively impact travel to our destination.

For more information and sample templates, click here.

Data & Trends

Metro Orlando's hotel occupancy rate for the week ending April 27, 2024, was 70.8% which was down -4.1% from the same week last year. The average daily rate for the week was $208, down -0.7% from the same week last year. Room night demand trailed prior year by -3%.

Around the Destination

Exterior during the night of  Lake Nona Wave Hotel

Lake Nona Wave Hotel

MICHELIN Guide’s New Keys Selection: Michelin recently unveiled its first selection of hotels awarded MICHELIN Keys in the United States. Three Orlando hotels, the Ette Hotel, Lake Nona Wave Hotel and The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, received One MICHELIN key for outstanding experiences and stays. The MICHELIN Keys program aims to highlight accommodations that stand out for their unique hospitality concept, distinctive character, warm welcome, and extremely high level of service. Learn more about the new MICHELIN Key program.

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2024 Orange County Hurricane Expo: Join Orange County Emergency Management for their annual Hurricane Expo at Evans High School on June 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meteorologist Amy Sweezey will  share insights into the upcoming weather season, including predictions and expert advice on hurricane preparedness. This is a good opportunity to equip yourself with the knowledge and resources necessary to stay safe and resilient in the face of potential storms. If you are interested in being a vendor, please reach out to ocoem@ocfl.net.

Visit Orlando Engaged!

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Visit Orlando hosts domestic media press trip. 

Domestic Press Trip: In collaboration with the Palm Beaches, Visit Orlando hosted a domestic press trip for five media. The group explored Winter Park and downtown Orlando and participated in a food tour in Mills 50. They visited the Alfond Inn and experienced Orlando’s arts and culture scene and unique wellness experiences. Also, the media saw the Unbelievably Real mural painted on the Brightline Train. Press trips allow us to work closely with media and influencers to secure valuable third-party endorsements for our destination, helping to elevate our messaging and reach new audiences across several platforms.

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Visit Orlando team members join United Arts of Central Florida and Wandering Palm Food Tours on a Cultural Tourism Downtown Art Tour. 

Cultural Tourism Downtown Art Tour: Visit Orlando team members joined a pilot of the Cultural Tourism Downtown Art Tour hosted by United Arts of Central Florida in partnership with Wandering Palm Food Tours. The session aimed to help United Arts fine-tune the tour for future guests. The tour started at Sculptures on the Lawn exhibition at the Orange County Administration Building in downtown Orlando and included stops at Snap! Orlando, Lake Eola Park, Orange County Regional History Center and CityArts, plus a refreshing visit to The Greenery Creamery. We look forward to this becoming a permanent offering for visitors and locals.

AACCCF 4th Annual Golf Outing: This week, the African American Chamber of Commerce (AACCCF) held its annual golf outing, raising funds to support small businesses in Central Florida. Visit Orlando’s participation further strengthens our partnership with the chamber. The team consisted of Visit Orlando’s Board Chair Terry Prather; Roi Ewell (Ewell & Associates, LLC); Brandon Johnson (Florida Nonprofit Alliance); and Visit Orlando Business Development Specialist Justin Leonard.