Join us for Visit Orlando’s Travel & Tourism Event on Thursday, May 23, at the Orange County Convention Center. This annual event celebrates National Travel and Tourism Week by recognizing the industry’s critical role in powering our national economy, community and connections.

The travel and tourism industry represents 43% of the Orange County workforce (direct and indirect jobs), and provides $5.3 billion in local and state tax revenue per year. These taxes generated from tourism help pay for arts and culture, schools, infrastructure and public safety in our community.

By attending on May 23, you’ll be the first to learn new data on travel to our destination and help us celebrate the 40-year anniversary of Visit Orlando membership.

I’m thrilled to share that Phil Rosenthal, creator of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and host of the Netflix hit show, “Somebody Feed Phil,” will join us as our keynote speaker.

In a Q&A discussion with Ricky Ly, founder of the local award-winning Orlando multimedia food and travel guide, TastyChomps.com., Rosenthal will share stories from his recent episode filmed in Orlando and his journey from creating a hit comedy show to an internationally renowned culinary series in its seventh season. Now streaming on Netflix, the dedicated Orlando episode on “Somebody Feed Phil” showcases restaurants in Mills 50, the Milk District, Parramore and more, and airs in more than 190 countries in eight languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.

Register today to secure your spot.


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Celebrating #407Day in Orlando

Together with the City of Orlando, Orange County Government, Orlando Economic Partnership and Visit Orlando, the entire destination commemorates hometown pride on Sunday, April 7, with events and special deals for residents and visitors in honor of 407 Day. Inspired by the destination’s longtime area code, 407 Day began as a rallying point to support local restaurants impacted by the pandemic. Since then, 407 Day has evolved to encourage residents to support their favorite restaurants, bars, shops, boutiques, services and other local businesses by sharing posts and photos on their social media channels with the #407day hashtag. From free festivals to live performances and sporting events through Orange County, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Orlando pride and support the local community. Learn more about how you can support Orlando’s businesses this Sunday.

Data & Trends

Metro Orlando's hotel occupancy rate for the week ending March 30, 2024, was 80.2%, up 2.2% from the same week last year. The average daily rate for the week was $230.02, down from the prior week’s $233 and down -2.9% from the same week last year. Room night demand surpassed the prior year by 3.1%. This week’s data is the first of the two weeks surrounding the Easter holiday that we typically reference as Orlando’s Spring Break period for most of its top origin markets.

February 2024 TDT Collections: Orange County's Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections for the February 2024 TDT collection month were $34,054,500. February 2024 collections were higher than February 2023 collections by $1.4 million, or 4.3%.

Metro Orlando’s hotel industry saw a 1.5% increase in demand compared to the previous year, despite a 2.7% dip in hotel occupancy averaging 79.8% compared to 82%. This growth is credited to a larger hotel inventory and Leap Year's extra day. The Average Daily Rate increased to $217.56, up 1.2% from last year. The Orange County Convention Center experienced a 55% surge in citywide attendance driven by MegaCon. Year-to-date, airline passenger arrivals to Orlando increased by 6.6%, largely due to international origins.

Industry Awards & Nominations

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Visit Orlando’s Senior Director of Digital Marketing & Technology Tim Megginson accepts Visit Orlando’s Rookie of the Year award at the 2024 Domo Community Ovation Awards. 

Domo Awards: Domo, an American cloud software company specializing in business intelligence tools, named Visit Orlando Rookie of the Year in its second annual Domo Community Ovation Awards! These awards recognize the innovative and impactful ways organizations use Domo to solve business challenges and drive positive outcomes. Visit Orlando has leveraged Domo to achieve strategic goals by consolidating key performance metrics and enhancing measurement capabilities. Visit Orlando connects more than 800 data sources and over 200 million rows of data to have a deeper understanding of our media performance, allowing us to optimize campaigns in real-time and ensure campaign success.

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Stella Awards: Visit Orlando and the Orlando destination are nominated in Northstar Meetings Group’s Stella Awards. Honoring excellence in the meetings industry, the awards recognize hotels, convention centers, conference centers, airlines, cruise lines, destination marketing organizations and destination management companies that consistently deliver quality service and innovation to meeting and event professionals. Voting is now open, so please cast your votes for Visit Orlando in the Suppliers-Best CVB/DMO-Southeast category, along with several destination partners in various categories, before polls close on May 3, 2024.

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Kaya, Filipino casual fine dining restaurant, located in Orlando’s Mills50 district.

James Beard Awards: Congratulations to Kaya, a Filipino casual fine dining restaurant located in Orlando’s Mills50 district, on being selected as a James Beard Award nominee in the Best New Restaurants category! This nomination further highlights Orlando's award-winning, diverse and evolving culinary community. Kaya is one of ten restaurants from across the county nominated, with the winner to be announced at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony on June 10, 2024, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Read more.

Across the Industry

CEO Summit: I had the opportunity to attend Destinations International’s CEO Summit in Boston, MA. The event provided tools, in the form of educational sessions, board meetings and networking lunches, to learn how to navigate and overcome the complexities of our roles. The event also included thought leaders sharing about the areas that stand out in our industry as topics that need more exploration to develop strategies and solutions. Destinations International is an association comprised of destination professionals that aims to elevate tourism by educating, equipping, empowering and connecting its members to better fulfill their missions and achieve positive results around the world.

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Visit Orlando team members Tim Megginson, Dipika Hernandez, Danielle Hollander and Stephanie Stolle sport Unbelievably Real gear at the Destinations Florida Marketing Summit.

Destinations Florida Board Meeting and Marketing Summit: Members of Visit Orlando’s marketing team, including Danielle Hollander, Tim Megginson, Dipika Hernandez and Stephanie Stolle, attended Destinations Florida Marketing Summit in Clearwater, FL, this week. Danielle, who is now on the Board of Directors, attended a board meeting focused on legislative initiatives, industry impact and upcoming programs. Tim led a session on how destinations can increase the impact of their marketing efforts with data. Additionally, the team participated in educational sessions, seminars and workshops from tourism experts and destination marketing professionals on topics such as travel insights and research, impactful partnerships and collaborations and successful tourism marketing, social media and public relations campaigns.

Around the Destination

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L to R: Visit Orlando’s Carolyn Martin and Destiny Vega; Claudia Menezes, GoPegasus; Thali Sugisawa, United Arts; Visit Orlando’s Danielle Hollander, Kristin Westover and Kathy Brown; and Michelle Smith, Conrad Orlando. 

Heart of Florida Women United Luncheon: This week, the Heart of Florida United Way hosted the Women United Luncheon, presented by the Walt Disney World® Resort. The event united hundreds of leaders from various professional backgrounds and celebrated the remarkable collective impact that women can achieve when joining forces, helping raise funds for ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) individuals. Visit Orlando is proud to support Heart of Florida United Way, through an annual team member campaign and various fundraisers throughout the year. Additionally, Visit Orlando’s Chief Marketing Officer Danielle Hollander serves as vice chair for Women United.

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Panel discussion at West Orange Chamber of Commerce’s Motion to Adjourn: 2024 Legislative Session Recap luncheon. 

Legislative Recap Luncheon: The West Orange Chamber of Commerce, community partner and Visit Orlando member, hosted a Motion to Adjourn: 2024 Legislative Session Recap luncheon at the Ocoee Lakeshore Event Center. The occasion provided updates on the new laws and changes from the last legislative session and how they will impact the future of West Orange County. Guest panelists included Senator Dennis Baxley District 13, and Representative’s Carolina Amesty District 45; Bruce Antone District 41; Douglas Bankson District 39; Lavon Bracy Davis District 40; and Jennifer “Rita” Harris District 44. Visit Orlando’s Stan Rubins and Kristin Westover attended on behalf of the organization.

Visit Orlando Engaged!

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Members of Visit Orlando’s team and membership attend the 2024 Pharma Forum. 

2024 Pharma Show: Visit Orlando, with eight members, showcased Orlando at the 2024 Pharma Forum, a premier conference for life sciences meeting professionals. The organization provides a platform to explore medical meeting futures, address compliance and strategize for virtual, hybrid and face-to-face events. Attendees engage with experts, thought leaders and decision-makers, discussing trends, best practices and innovations in pharmaceutical meetings. The Orlando team conducted over 50 one-on-one appointments, leveraging the event’s excellent educational content and networking opportunities.

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L to R: Brad Baker, The Walt Disney Company; and Visit Orlando’s Director of Social Media & Content Adeta Gayah. 

Social Media Conference: Ragan Communications, a leading provider of professional development, training and intelligence hosted its Social Media Conference in Orlando. The event attracted representatives from diverse industries who participated in information-packed sessions and inspiring keynotes over three days. Attendees aimed to enhance their organizations' social media results, test new platforms, generate viral content, foster community engagement and achieve more impactful results. Adeta Gayah, Visit Orlando’s senior director of social media & content, presented on a panel titled “How Generative AI and Web3 Are Powering an Immersive Future.” Adeta highlighted how Visit Orlando is currently using artificial intelligence (AI) in social media and content creation efforts. She also shared how and why the organization came up with an employee AI policy to ensure team members feel empowered to leverage AI in their work.

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Central Florida communications professionals connect at Judson's Live - Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. 

Central Florida Communicators: Visit Orlando’s Denise Spiegel and Kristin Westover attended Orange County Government’s Central Florida Communicators Meeting at Judson’s Live. The event gathers communications and community relations professionals representing Orange County government and various industries including healthcare, travel and tourism and more to network and share updates. As part of the program, the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts showcased the new Judson's Live venue and Universal Orlando Resort presented the latest information on Epic Universe, opening in 2025.