This week, team members from Visit Orlando’s meetings and conventions sales and destination experiences teams, joined by 22 Visit Orlando members, attended IMEX America, the largest trade show in the United States for the global meetings, events and incentive travel industry.
The four-day, high-energy tradeshow offered abundant opportunities for networking, education sessions and group presentations to influential decision-makers, senior buyers and third-party planners from the U.S. and around the world. This year’s event drew thousands of industry professionals, exhibitors and buyers, representing a multitude of countries, venues, vendors and suppliers.
In an effort to promote Orlando as a business destination, we conducted nearly 1,200 appointments with meeting planners, hosted various events and engaged with key trade publications such as BizBash, Smart Meetings, Meetings Today and NorthStar Meetings Group.
We generated excitement among meeting planners by showcasing Orlando's latest offerings. Visit Orlando's Chief Sales Officer Mike Waterman introduced the recent launch of the Brightline high-speed rail service, acclaimed Michelin-recognized dining options, the new Orlando Health Virtual Care Center and recent hotel openings. He also emphasized Orlando's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and sustainability across theme parks, hotels, resorts and the Orange County Convention Center.
Additionally, Visit Orlando's Senior Legal Counsel and VP of External Affairs Stan Rubins contributed to a panel discussion titled “Banning the Boycott: How to do Business in the Era of Discrimination” providing valuable insights and recommendations for effectively incorporating LGBTQ+ inclusion.
Participating in IMEX supported our teams’ efforts in establishing over 1,600 connections with meeting planners looking to book their meetings in Orlando in 2024 and beyond.
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Tourism Matters Newsletter (visitorlando.com)
Visit Orlando in London: Brand USA Travel Week
Our team had an incredibly productive week at the Brand USA Travel Week U.K & Europe in London. This annual event provides an extraordinary opportunity to promote Orlando as a leading travel destination for international travelers. We connected with several destination management organization CEOs to discuss the future of international travel. We also met with travel industry professionals, buyers and media to discuss trends, share story ideas and conduct business to drive future visitation to Orlando.
Visit Orlando’s VP of Communications Denise Spiegel, Travel Industry Sales Director Phil White and I met with more than 60 buyers and media members to share updates about Orlando and discuss ways we can work together to drive business. One of the highlights from this trip was spotting our Visit Orlando wrapped taxi cabs that are part of our "Unbelievably Real” campaign to inspire U.K. residents to visit Orlando.
Come Out With Pride Parade
Join Visit Orlando tomorrow in downtown Orlando for the Come Out With Pride Festival. We partnered with iHeartMedia to feature the team from Johnny's House on XL106.7 as a part of our colorful, themed float. Keep an eye out for Visit Orlando red t-shirts and stop by our booth for a chance to win prizes and to meet some of our team members.
Metro Orlando occupancy for the week ending Oct. 14, was 70.2%, up from last week's 65.2% but down 12.7% from the same week last year. The Average Daily Rate for the week was $184.89, down from last week’s $190.61 and down 6.3% from the same week last year.
Across the Industry
Top Business Travel Destination: Orlando was recently listed as one of the most popular business travel destinations in the U.S. by Booking.com. The list boasts cities with a thriving business landscape, impressive event venues and a plethora of activities to enjoy during free time. Orlando is recognized for its theme parks & attractions, outdoor adventures and accommodating convention facilities like the Orange County Convention Center. Read more here.
Routes Americas Recognition: Congratulations to Vicki Jaramillo, the Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer at the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, for receiving Routes' Individual Leadership Award at Routes World 2023. The event took place in Istanbul, bringing together more than 2,500 influential decision makers from airlines, airports and destinations to focus on the future of global air connectivity. The award honors a lifetime of exceptional contributions to the route development community and acknowledges an individual's impact on the industry throughout their career. Vicki’s expertise, for example, in supporting air service development from all aspects and excelling at fostering strategic partnerships, has made a tremendous difference for the Orlando community and the travel and tourism industry. Her efforts and support for the destination have helped strengthen Orlando’s visitation growth and positioned us as the No. 1 most visited destination in the United States.
Around the Destination
GoPegasus: Congratulations to GoPegasus and its Vice President Claudia Menezes, who also serves as a Visit Orlando board member, on reaching a successful 30-year milestone as a prominent transportation and travel provider for Orlando and beyond in the travel and tourism industry. During a recent celebratory event, the office of Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings issued an official proclamation recognizing October 14, 2023, as "GoPegasus 30 Years Anniversary Day." GoPegasus was also recognized for its ongoing commitment to positively impacting the Central Florida community.
New Community Development District: Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings and the Board of County Commissioners voted to establish the Shingle Creek Transit and Utility Community Development District (SCTU), a special district that would assist in funding improvements to public infrastructure, including the Sunshine Corridor. The new commuter rail line would expand SunRail to connect Central Florida communities to the Orlando International Airport and the Orange County Convention Center. This new district comes at no cost to taxpayers and gets our destination one step closer to a vital infrastructure for transportation. Learn more here.
Downtown Orlando Field Day: On Nov. 2 from 3-9 p.m., City District Orlando is hosting Downtown Orlando Field Day at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts’ Seneff Plaza. This event is a day of classic field day games with a local, Orlando-centric twist to build community camaraderie and connect Orlando’s daytime economy with nighttime entertainment through sporting challenges. Field Day will consist of four exciting games with a grand finale of tug-of-war. You can experience the action-packed event as a spectator or create a team of up to 10 individuals. Access full details here.
Visit Orlando Engaged!
Membership Event: Visit Orlando’s membership team hosted more than 30 downtown hotel properties for a recruitment event at the Citrus Club. With so many hotels located a few minutes from popular downtown restaurants, bars and entertainment venues like the Amway Center, Exploria Stadium and Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, our membership team is working to grow our membership portfolio with downtown business to support them in gaining more business while also helping travelers and business groups know about all Orlando offers. Learn more about Visit Orlando membership benefits here.
In the News
WESH: Brightline offering pass for travel between Orlando, Miami
WKMG: 3 new eateries opening soon on International Drive
Orlando Sentinel: Orlando has deal to purchase Pulse Nightclub, Mayor Dyer says
Travel Weekly (UK): Major US gateway cities hail rebound in UK airlift and visitors
National Post | Sault Star column: Orlando becoming a new ‘hotspot for hauntings'
NerdWallet: 6 ideas for a wonka dream vacation this winter
Bungalower: Orlando gets $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies