This week, Orlando was in the national spotlight earning the title of the #1 Best Sports Business City for Attracting and Hosting Events by Sports Business Journal (SBJ). The Greater Orlando Sports Commission (GO Sports) unveiled the news at a press event at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort on Monday, March 18.

This year alone has proved Orlando is a leader in sporting events. In February, Orlando welcomed the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Marathon and the NFL Pro Bowl Games over the same weekend. Earlier this week, Florida Citrus Sports announced FC Barcelona and Manchester City, two world-famous soccer teams, will play in Orlando this summer as part of the Florida Cup Series. Additionally, a soccer match between the U.S. Men’s National Team and Brazil is set for June 12 at Camping World Stadium.

According to Abe Madkour, publisher and executive editor of SBJ, “Orlando's elevation to the top spot in this year’s rankings is a testament to the vibrant collaboration between world-class venues, dedicated sports commissions, and the enthusiastic community that makes Orlando a standout destination for sports business.”

Community Collaboration: Visit Orlando is proud to work closely with an extensive network of Visit Orlando members, industry organizations and partners to position Orlando as a growing sports destination. For example, we partner with the Orange County Convention Center to book sports events of all sizes. The AAU Girls Junior Volleyball Championships, PGA Show and All Out Nationals are events we regularly host, each attracting thousands of attendees.

Promoting Sports Across our Network: Through e-newsletters, blogs and social platforms, we spread awareness and excitement for sports events throughout our destination. From highlighting Orlando's professional sports teams and international-level games to spotlighting recreational opportunities, we're committed to showcasing the vibrant sports culture that makes Orlando Unbelievably Real.

Tapping into Global Markets: We maximize opportunities with locally held sporting events to increase awareness globally with branding in stadium and within televised broadcasts of events like the Florida Cup Series and popular college football games, such as Florida Blue Florida Classic, Pop-Tarts Bowl, Cheez-It Citrus Bowl and more.

To keep up the momentum, your Visit Orlando team will continue to collaborate with destination partners, including the Orange County Convention Center, GO Sports, Florida Citrus Sports, Orlando City SC, Orlando Pride, the University of Central Florida, Orlando Magic, United States Tennis Association and more to position Orlando as a premier sports destination and bring more events in the future.

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Destination Tourism Master Plan Town Halls

Visit Orlando is developing a 10-Year Destination Tourism Master Plan to help shape the future of the community, boost the visitor economy, and maintain the well-being of the destination and residents. A pivotal aspect of this initiative lies in valuable insights from Orange County residents. We are organizing town hall meetings in each of Orange County's six commission districts the week of April 15. We invite you to attend and spread the word to help make these meetings successful. Please RSVP here.

  • District 1: Monday, April 15th at Gotha Middle School Cafeteria
  • District 2: Wednesday, April 17th at Apopka High School Media Center
  • District 3: Thursday, April 18th at Taft Community Center
  • District 4: Tuesday, April 16th at Timber Creek High Media Center
  • District 5: Wednesday, April 17th at Florida Technical College, Orlando Campus Auditorium
  • District 6: Tuesday, April 16th at Barnett Park, Dolphin Room

Data & Trends

Metro Orlando's hotel occupancy rate for the week ending March 16, 2024, was 84.5% which was up from 82% the prior week but down -3.1% the same week last year. The average daily rate for the week was $243.14, which was up from the prior week’s $224 and up 2.2% from the same week last year. Room night demand trailed prior year by -2.2%.

Across the Industry

L to R: Visit Orlando’s Faye Memoli and Kristin Westover; Congressman Daniel Webster, 11th District; and Jason Holic and Misty Johantgen, Experience Kissimmee.

Destination Capitol Hill: This week, U.S. Travel Association hosted its premier legislative fly-in, Destination Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C. As part of the delegation, Visit Orlando joined industry leaders across the country in speaking with members of Congress about key issues confronting the growth of domestic and international travel, including:

  • Lowering visitor visa wait times
  • Lowering customs wait times
  • Fully funding the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel & Tourism
  • Advancing FAA reauthorization.

Our tourism industry is an essential part of our economy supporting 450,000 jobs and accounting for nearly 50% of all sales tax revenue. When travel thrives, so does Florida. Florida residents do not pay a state income tax, thanks, in part, to the revenue generated by visitors. Additionally, each household in Orlando would need to be taxed $7,500 to replace the taxes generated by visitor activity in our destination.

Learn more about U.S. Travel’s policy priorities to support legislation that positively impacts the travel and tourism industry.

Orlando Main Streets lake eola aerial

Lake Eola, Downtown Orlando.

New National Recognition: Orlando is the No. 1 Top Travel Destination in the U.S., according to Trip Canvas, a planning tool powered by AAA. The website’s article states, "Orlando has everything from exciting theme parks to endless shopping and dining, plus the warm Florida sunshine, making it the perfect spot for an unforgettable family vacation."

Around the Destination


Malyna Si executive chef of Capa at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.

Celebrating Women‘s History Month: To celebrate Women’s History Month, in addition to showcasing Women-focused special events and women-owned businesses on our blog, we’re spotlighting inspiring women in Central Florida. Malyna Si is the executive chef at Capa Steakhouse at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando and responsible for the only woman-led Michelin-Starred restaurant in Orlando. Watch this video highlighting Malyna’s culinary experiences and read all about her journey here.

Visit Orlando Engaged!


Visit Orlando’s public relations team hosts Colombian and Mexican media at The Mall at Millenia for a press trip.

Colombian and Mexican Press Trips: Our public relations team hosted two high-profile Colombian content creators on a family press trip, and two group press trips with media from Colombia and Mexico. Both countries are key international markets that drive visitation to Orlando, and press trips offer the opportunity for media to gain first-hand knowledge of the destination to share in their stories. The itineraries highlighted several areas across the destination, including theme parks, Dezerland Park Orlando, Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures, Wild Florida Airboats & Gator Park and other attractions. The groups enjoyed exploring Orlando’s vast shopping options and toured local neighborhoods, such as Mills 50, Ivanhoe Village, Downtown Orlando and Winter Park. The new Villatel Orlando Resort, Walt Disney World Swan Hotel and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando hosted the three groups.


L to R: Hal Fickett, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI); Daniela Ventura, WebBeds; Laura Parra, Hotelbeds; and Visit Orlando’s Robert Leavitt present at HSMAI’s monthly luncheon. 

HSMAI Luncheon: The Central Florida Chapter of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) held its monthly luncheon this week with Visit Orlando‘s Market Research & Insights Senior Analyst Robert Leavitt joining a panel discussion with representatives from WebBeds and Hotelbeds. The group explored international market recovery in Orlando, reviewing top markets and current demand. Additionally, they touched on broader global economic and geo-political trends and how they might be impacting travel sentiment for the destination.


Danielle Hollander speaks on panel at the 6th Annual Unity Women’s History Month celebration. 

UNITY Women's History Month: Visit Orlando's Chief Marketing Officer Danielle Hollander participated in the 6th Annual UNITY Women's History Month celebration, which served as a fundraiser for the Greatest Investment (TGI) Girls Empowerment Program's 14th annual summer camp program. Moderated by Daralene Jones of Cox Media Group, Danielle joined Tanya Easterling representing Florida Blue and Hope L. Newsome, Esq. of Meris Law PLLC to inspire inclusion, empower future leaders and celebrate Women's History Month.