On Sunday, we start the industry-wide celebration of National Travel & Tourism Week (NTTW), which recognizes travel and tourism’s enormous impact on communities across America.
To celebrate, your Visit Orlando team has planned multiple activities showcasing how our region’s travel and tourism industry positively impacts our economy, member companies and area residents as we move #TravelForward. To learn more about NTTW, including how you can join us in promoting it on social media, check out this toolkit from the U.S. Travel Association.
Here’s what we have in store:
MONDAY, MAY 8: At Orlando International Airport, we will recognize and thank frontline employees—U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration—and the Tourist Oriented Policing Squad first responders of sectors five and six.
TUESDAY, MAY 9: Visit Orlando will present how we’re moving travel forward in Central Florida to regional and diversity chambers of commerce during an event at the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 10: Demonstrating a Visit Orlando core value, We Serve, and being of service to our community, Visit Orlando team members will be volunteering at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida with our Orange County Convention Center partners.
THURSDAY, MAY 11: One of our three signature luncheons each year, Visit Orlando’s Travel & Tourism Event, takes place at the Orange County Convention Center. Seats are filling up fast, so register today. The event will also include an announcement about our destination's 2022 visitation numbers. You won’t want to miss it!
FRIDAY, MAY 12: To end the weeklong celebration, we’re holding a Visit Orlando staff appreciation event at Andretti Indoor Karting & Games. Our team members are our most important asset, and they are critical to driving success to advance the Orlando brand. I am so grateful to work alongside our amazing team.
Stay informed with Visit Orlando news and the latest destination updates by signing up for Tourism Matters, Visit Orlando's President & CEO's weekly newsletter.
Tourism Matters Newsletter (visitorlando.com)
Policy Update: COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement Ends May 11
The Biden-Harris Administration announced they will end the COVID-19 vaccine requirements for Federal employees, Federal contractors, and international air travelers at the end of the day on May 11, the same day that the COVID-19 public health emergency ends. This is great news for the United States, the travel industry and especially for our destination. With this change, international travelers can plan vacations to the U.S. more efficiently. We appreciate the Biden-Harris administration for lifting this requirement, valuing international travelers and recognizing the importance of travel.
Florida Legislation Session & VISIT FLORIDA Budget Update
Today marks the last day of Florida’s Legislative Session. Throughout the period of meetings, one impactful update included VISIT FLORIDA's budget. The Senate and House agreed to fund VISIT FLORIDA with $80 million ($30 million recurring and $50 million non-recurring) for the coming fiscal year 2023-24. This funding level represents a $30 million increase over VISIT FLORIDA’s current year state funding of $50 million. The new budget is the largest appropriation received from the state and is great news for their organization and the state of Florida.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI), Visit Orlando partnered with Buzzfeed and HuffPost in our annual multicultural campaign and released a blog highlighting culture-specific events, dining, notable landmarks and more. We also have a landing page informing visitors of Orlando’s AAPI history and culture. As a welcoming and inclusive destination, we pride ourselves in lifting the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and showcasing the wide-ranging offerings available in Central Florida.
Prioritize Hurricane and Emergency Preparedness
This week was Hurricane Preparedness Week and with hurricane season upon us, we all must have an effective plan in place for our families, businesses and organizations. Please visit Orange County Government’s Hurricane Safety Guide for detailed information about storm season preparation. Also, Visit Orlando members, please email our member relations team at MemberRelations@visitorlando.com to update emergency contact information.
For the week ending April 29, Metro Orlando occupancy was 73.9%, down from last week’s 79.3% and down slightly from the same week last year. Average Daily Rate for the week was $210, up 8.6% from last year.
Around the Destination
BCC Presentation: Visit Orlando provided an update to the Orange County Board of County Commissioners (BCC). We shared the local impact of travel, Visit Orlando’s success in driving and securing bookings for meetings and conventions groups at the Orange County Convention Center and our role as a destination marketing organization.
In addition, Mayor Jerry Demings and Orange County’s commissioners presented Visit Orlando and the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association with a proclamation in honor of National Travel and Tourism Week, May 7-13, 2023. This declaration is another step towards moving travel forward!
Golden Brick Awards: Visit Orlando and Orlando Economic Partnership team members celebrated winning the Game Changer award for the “Unbelievably Real” brand campaign at Downtown Orlando Partnership’s Golden Brick Awards. The annual event celebrates the people, projects and initiatives that propelled downtown forward in 2022.
Grand Opening: I joined several industry professionals and residents at a preview fiesta for the new Mexican restaurant, Kavas Tacos + Tequila, in Pointe Orlando. The event included food and drink selections from their menu, exciting photo ops with llamas and networking.
Visit Orlando Engaged!
Visit Orlando Hosts Media: Our public relations team hosted two press trips from Mexico and the UK this past week in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA. Both countries are key international markets to drive visitation to Orlando. The trip itineraries highlighted theme parks and “Unexpected Orlando” elements that included beyond the park's experiences such as ICON Park, Michelin dining and Winter Park.
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