It's time to start planning your top picks for Visit Orlando’s 16th annual Magical Dining! 

This year’s program runs Aug. 27-Oct. 3 and features $37 three-course meals at over 80 of our area’s finest restaurants. Most menus are now live at MagicalDining.com, with more to come soon.

New this year, you can also turn your meal into an overnight getaway, with exclusive hotel and resort offers through our Magical Nights promotion. 

As always, one dollar from each meal will benefit local charities. This year's recipients — Pathlight HOME and iDignity — combat homelessness and help people in need access crucial services.    

Read more about other enhancements to Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining here.

Let’s #RiseUp in Bid to Host 2026 World Cup

In 2026, Canada, Mexico and the United States will host the FIFA World Cup — and this year, up to 16 cities will be selected from a field of 23 candidates, including Orlando

Our destination proudly hosted the event in 1994, and we’ve joined in a challenge to #riseup and show the world that Orlando deserves to be a World Cup city once more.  Watch this video.

Let’s start by packing Camping World Stadium Sunday for the start of Florida Cup 2021. The more fans who turn out for this international soccer event, the more momentum it builds for our city’s chances to host the World Cup.

Welcoming Visitors and Journalists from Colombia 

This month, Avianca Airlines began three new weekly direct flights to Orlando from Cali, Colombia. Marking this incremental step in the return of international travel, Visit Orlando partnered with Avianca to host a destination orientation for three Colombian journalists. This is the first international group press trip our organization has hosted since the pandemic.

Sweepstakes Spur Interest in Our Destination 

Our third quarter Win-a-Trip Sweepstakes is offering consumers the chance to win a fall getaway for two that includes airfare, accommodations and experiences. Running through Oct. 13, it’s one of the most visited pages on our website and a primary source for growing our consumer database. Partner businesses include Frontier Airlines, The Orlando Eye by Merlin Entertainments, Revolution Adventures and JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes.

Travel Guides Highlight the Best of Orlando 

Our publicity team secured some high-profile media coverage this month, helping Travel + Leisure with content for an Orlando Travel Guide that generated nearly six million impressions and spotlighted dozens of our member partners. 

Speaking of newly minted travel guides, TIME recently named Orlando one of “The World's Greatest Places of 2021.” This annual list — chosen by TIME editors and global experts — recognizes 100 destinations (countries, cities, towns and national parks) that offer extraordinary experiences unlike any other. 

Reserve Your Spot at Our August Luncheon

Register today for our annual Business Insights Luncheon & Economic Forum Aug. 27 at Hilton Orlando, where you can hear from leading industry analysts, reconnect with colleagues and network with Visit Orlando team members representing marketing and communications, meetings and conventions, travel industry sales, market research and insights, and membership. 

Another key element of our annual luncheon will be revealing our new three-year strategic plan, which was informed by your results to our recent survey. Just this week, the Visit Orlando board of directors met with Paul Ouimet (above left), partner and president of MMGY NextFactor, to review the data and develop goals and initiatives that will be the road map for Visit Orlando over the next three years. We can’t wait to share the findings with you!

Employment Data: The Good, the Bad and the Current Reality for Leisure & Hospitality

June employment data for the Orlando market shows that growth in leisure and hospitality has outpaced the rate of growth in overall employment. However, when compared to pre-pandemic levels, our industry continues to lag in overall recovery. This issue has affected much of the U.S. in a similar way. Below are a few key takeaways from the new report:

  • Total employment in the Orlando market rose 0.5% from May to June, while employment in our leisure and hospitality sector rose 3.3%.
     
  • Growth in the leisure and hospitality sector was led by accommodations (+6.4%), followed by food services & drinking places (+3.3%), then arts, entertainment & recreation (+1.5%).  
     
  • The leisure and hospitality sector accounted for 16.3% of total Orlando employment in June, up slightly from 15.8% in May. It accounted for 21% of area employment pre-COVID.
     
  • Leisure and hospitality employment in June (196,200) was 70% of the pre-pandemic peak in February 2020 (280,600). This is the lowest recovery of any sector. Total Orlando employment in June was 90% of February 2020 levels.

Hotel Metrics Continue Upward Trajectory 

Metro Orlando’s lodging recovery continued to progress in June, with transient demand (1.82 million room nights booked) exceeding that of June 2019 (1.73 million room nights). Average daily rate ($122.25) was also slightly higher than in June 2019 ($120.79). 

For the week ending July 17, occupancy was 73.9%, up from 72.8% the previous week. Average daily rate (ADR) fell $2.57 to $129.19; however, ADR has still exceeded 2019 levels for five consecutive weeks.

Across the Industry

PCMA: What Visit Orlando has learned after a challenging year of hosting events 

Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide: Dates announced for Visit Orlando's Magical Dining
 
Convention South: Alfond Inn at Rollins adding 2,400 square feet of meeting space
 
Florida Trend: Canada border changes could help Florida tourism

TravelPulse: U.S. government considering revamp of current European travel restrictions
 
Business Travel News: Cvent to Go Public via SPAC at $5B Valuation

Travel Weekly: Roger Dow shares reasons for stepping down at U.S. Travel in 2022

Florida Politics: Central Florida tourism leaders see high hopes, challenges in post-pandemic

In your service,

Casandra Matej

Casandra Matej | President & CEO
Visit Orlando