I’m thrilled to share that Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining is returning from Aug. 18 to Oct. 1 with more than 115 restaurants, including seven MICHELIN Guide restaurants and 16 first-time participants serving three-course, prix-fixe menus. In our 18th year, it was time to recognize the incredible growth and range of Orlando’s culinary scene by expanding Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining with the debut of a $60 menu tier, in addition to the current $40 menu offerings.
One dollar from each $40 menu and two dollars from each $60 menu will be donated to this year’s charity beneficiary, The Lifeboat Project, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and supports victims of human trafficking.
Additionally, Visit Orlando will donate $2,000 to one local nonprofit in each of Orange County’s six commission districts that also support this cause. They include Mustard Seed of Central Florida, Nuevo Sendero, One Heart for Women and Children, Salvation Army Orlando, Samaritan Village and Wake Up Mentoring. Since 2009, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining has raised more than $2.2 million for local charities.
Head over to OrlandoMagicalDining.com to make reservations, explore the extensive menus and sort through them by tiers, dietary preferences, location, cuisine type and more! You can also begin planning staycations by taking advantage of great savings at our destination’s amenity-filled hotels and resorts through Visit Orlando’s Magical Nights.
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Tourism Matters Newsletter (visitorlando.com)
The Wanderer: Orlando Featured on Amazon Prime Show
Visit Orlando has teamed up with Tripadvisor on the new branded travel series, “The Wanderer,” available through Amazon Prime Video. The show challenges travelers to curate an unexpected travel guide uniquely inspired by locals. The Orlando episode follows friends Regine and Blaise from New York visiting Orlando for the first time as they discover its hidden gems. The premise of the show is the “Wanderers” don’t know where they are traveling until just before leaving and don’t have an itinerary as they build their experience while taking advice from the people they meet. The 30-minute Orlando episode was filmed in May and will debut on July 19 on Prime Video. We encourage you to watch with your family and friends!
Save the Date: Visit Orlando's Signature Luncheon
Registration is open for Visit Orlando’s Insights Luncheon and General Session on Thursday, August 24, at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. As the second of three signature luncheons, this valuable event will offer fresh perspectives on influencing business, with updates on Visit Orlando initiatives and strategies for successfully managing cross-generational teams. Secure your spot now! Corporate tables are available for purchase. Contact Kelly.Kenney@visitorlando.com for more details.
The Value of Tourism
Earlier this year, we launched The Value of Tourism, a local campaign encouraging Central Florida residents to share how tourism positively impacts our community. Check out this toolkit with ready-made social graphics and copy suggestions. Remember to help spread the word to your friends, family and colleagues.
In addition, Visit Orlando wants to share with the world how Orlando’s tourism industry offers unique career paths and endless opportunities for diverse interests. For example, in these videos, Steven Lewis, owner and creator of Gideon's Bakehouse, experienced much success by utilizing his gift and passion while working in the industry. His bakery’s success has since gained massive appeal. And Barb Bowden, area managing director of Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando, experienced tremendous growth from resort operations to where she is today through her commitment to serving Orlando’s millions of visitors.
If you or someone you know has a unique job, we want to hear about it. Your story can inspire future leaders for our industry and help them see all that is possible. Submit your nomination today!
Metro Orlando occupancy for the week ending July 8 was 68.8%, a drop from the prior week’s 77.3% rate but still above both state and national average levels and still a slight improvement year over year. The Average Daily Rate for the week was $177.66, up 3.2% from the same week last year. Orlando’s hotel demand for the Fourth of July weekend, June 30 to July 3, surpassed last year’s holiday weekend demand by 6.1%.
Across the Industry
Orlando Home to a Most Beautiful Theater: Our destination has many venues with stunning views, architectural structures and designs. One in particular, Steinmetz Hall, located inside The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (DPAC), is a perfect example with its unique and acoustically advanced multiform theater that accommodates a variety of art forms and events. Architectural Digest recently listed Steinmetz Hall among “The 11 Most Beautiful Theaters in the World” based on its warm and striking interior and fancy features. Congratulations to DPAC on this outstanding recognition! Read more about it here.
Around the Destination
I-Drive Chamber Breakfast: The International Drive Resort Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its special July breakfast this week at ICON Park. Attendees networked, learned about area tourism updates and received an update about ICON Park.
CFHLA CARES Drive: Please consider donating professional attire, including gently used suits, dresses, dress shirts, ties, belts, shoes and accessories, to the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association’s (CFHLA) annual collection drive. The final day to donate—which supports Central Florida students in need throughout Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties—is quickly approaching on Tuesday, July 18.
Chef Tasting Event: Valencia College hosted a Summer Chef’s Tasting event this week showcasing culinary arts, talent and professionalism from Central Florida aspiring chefs. We look forward to continuing our involvement in working with Valencia College’s faculty in highlighting the unique and exciting career paths within hospitality and tourism.
ICAST Tour: The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) returned to Orlando for its annual convention that unveils where most new products debut into the fishing marketplace and the latest products for 2023. During ICAST, Visit Orlando team members and Orange County Convention Center representatives escorted Orange County Government District 6 Commissioner Mike Scott and his team around the tradeshow floor to learn more about how we work together to create successful events like ICAST in Orlando and its impact on our local economy.
FSAE Annual Conference: The Florida Society of Association Executives (FSAE) held its annual conference at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs. This year’s conference topic, Rooted in Discovery, focused on association management for this new era through education, interactive discussions and experiences. Visit Orlando’s account manager, Aitza Diaz, spoke to executives and suppliers, sharing many Visit Orlando resources available to help make their meetings and events unforgettable. She also highlighted the destination's newest hotels, the latest Michelin restaurants and Orlando's ranking as the No. 1 meetings destination in the country by Cvent.
Visit USA Media Marketplace: Visit Orlando’s UK public relations agency attended Visit USA’s Media Marketplace in London, one of Visit Orlando‘s top overseas markets. As one of 30 United States tourism exhibitors in attendance, Visit Orlando met with content creators and held meetings with 13 key media, including a selection of top UK publications like Mail on Sunday, The Times and The Telegraph to further position Orlando as a top travel destination and identify potential editorial and press trip opportunities.
In the News
Orlando Date Night Guide: Orlando Magical Dining: what's new for 2023 + top picks
USA TODAY: Unforgettable Orlando getaways: 15 best hotels with pools, water parks
Inside Our Suitcase: 34 budget-friendly things to do in Orlando