As each day passes, our destination’s economic recovery becomes not just a far-off, lofty idea for the future, but a tangible, visible process that continues to pick up speed in real time. 
 
While there’s still a long way to go, I’m encouraged that recent data indicates Orlando’s tourism industry is bouncing back in multiple areas. The latest good news comes from our leisure and hospitality sector, which has added 11,900 jobs since January, accounting for 64% of the region’s total job growth during that stretch.
 
Of course, increased visitation is fueling these gains, putting more people back to work in our theme parks, attractions, hotels, restaurants, and arts and cultural venues — all of which leads to a more stable economy, increased tax revenue and greater quality of life for area residents. 
 
As we continue to push toward a full recovery, Visit Orlando is proud to aid our region’s economic rebound through efforts that drive visitation and support our industry partners.  

Still Time to Register for Our Travel & Tourism Event

Registration is still open for Visit Orlando’s annual Travel & Tourism Event May 4 at the Orange County Convention Center, but in-person slots are filling up fast! If you can’t make it, no problem — we have plenty of room for anyone who would prefer to join us virtually. 

During the one-hour event, we’ll recognize the importance and impact of Central Florida's leading industry, acknowledge indicators of our bright future, and hear from guest speaker Erin Francis-Cummings, president & CEO of Destination Analysts, on current traveler sentiment and what it tells us about Orlando's road back to record-breaking tourism.  

We also have plans for an incredible lineup of events for National Travel & Tourism Week (May 2-8), which you’ll hear more about in our next issue. Stay tuned! 

Orlando Well Represented in Smart Stars 2021 Awards

It’s the season for awards, and once again I’m happy to share that Orlando has multiple nominees (a handful are listed below) for Smart Magazine’s reader-judged 2021 Smart Stars Awards. Show your support by casting a vote by May 1

Best CVB/DMO: Visit Orlando 

Best Hybrid-Ready Venue: Orange County Convention Center 

Best City Hotel: Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando

Best Convention Center: Orange County Convention Center 

Best Conference/Convention Center Hotel: Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort 

Best Attraction/Theme Park: Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World Resort 

Wonder Remains at The Oscars

Thousands of people will tune in Sunday evening to watch the 93rd annual Academy Awards, and we're excited to share that many of those viewers will catch some Orlando travel inspiration, courtesy our “Wonder Remains” TV ad. Working in conjunction with our media agency, we were able to secure this complimentary placement in several key markets, including New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh and Houston. Such high-profile positioning ensures top-flight exposure for our destination at a moment when many Americans are starting to plan their summer vacations.

Mother’s Day Inspiration

If you’re looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift, we have some ideas! Visit Orlando’s newest consumer blog is helping visitors plan a magical Mother’s Day. This blog spotlights numerous member companies and includes a host of fun suggestions for Mother’s Day activities, including restaurant menus, special offers, unique gifts and shared experiences for any family to celebrate mom.  

Hotel Metrics

Impacted by spring break winding down, Metro Orlando's occupancy rate for the week ending April 17 was 56.4%, down from 68.6% the previous week. Average daily rate fell $12.76 to $104.76. 
 
For March, occupancy was 57.8%, up from 40.0% last year — the same month theme parks closed and quarantine measures went into effect. This marks our highest monthly occupancy since February 2020 (84.9%). Hotel stays continued to be primarily transient in nature (vs. business-related), with 85% of rooms occupied by leisure travelers. March ADR was $109.99, down 9.4% from last year but our first monthly average over $100 since the pandemic. Total demand was up 38% from March 2020. 

My New Favorite Team 

As part of my exploration of all our destination has to offer, I finally got to attend an Orlando Magic game (pictured here with Visit Orlando Board Chair Brian Comes). The Kia Center is amazing, and I can’t wait to experience it at full capacity. Go Magic! 

ACROSS THE INDUSTRY

Orlando Int’l Airport to welcome dozens of destinations from these 12 airlines 

I-Ride trolleys set summer return for service 

New data shows air travel bouncing back 

Florida leads all states in Google travel searches, retains top spot pre-Covid 

March U.S. hotel occupancy tops 50 percent

Orlando's IAAPA Expo to return in November

In your service,

Casandra Matej

Casandra Matej | President & CEO
Visit Orlando