Visit Orlando, in partnership with Experience Kissimmee, hosted an event to welcome U.S. Travel Association’s new president and CEO, Geoff Freeman. Geoff presented his vision for the industry and gave his perspective on the future of travel.
The U.S. Travel Association is a national, non-profit organization representing the travel industry and advocates for policies to accelerate economic recovery and restore job growth in the travel industry.
During the event, Geoff shared U.S. Travel’s key priorities, surrounding international inbound travel and domestic travel, to enable stronger travel growth in the U.S. Focus areas include decreasing the extensive visitor visa wait time, eliminating vaccine requirements for international travelers, improving the air travel system and creating a seamless and secure travel experience.
To learn more about U.S Travel’s plans to grow domestic and international travel, view their vision framework and press release.
We look forward to working with U.S. Travel — and our valued industry partners — to positively impact the economy and the travel and tourism industry.
Orlando: No. 1 Valentine’s Day Destination
Love is certainly in the air across our destination with Orlando leading the list of top destinations for Valentine travelers according to a study from Allianz Partners — a global leader in the travel industry. The data showed that travel itineraries are up 71% for the romantic holiday season. Making the news even sweeter, Orlando was also named the best place to get married in 2023 based on cost, facilities, services, activities and attractions, according to WalletHub.
Orlando’s unique dining venues, romantic events and attractions collectively create The Ultimate Guide to Valentine’s Day in Orlando for any traveler to experience during the season of love.
December 2022 TDT Collections
Orange County's Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections for December 2022 came in at $31.2 million — a 10.2% increase over December 2021, $20.5 million higher than December 2020 earnings and the highest December collections on record. TDT funds are designated by Orange County government for specific purposes including the promotion of tourism, the Orange County Convention Center, sports stadiums and arenas, performing arts venues and museums.
Looking ahead, hotel booking pace for the first quarter of 2023 is pacing ahead of 2022 by 21%. The group segment is seeing solid bookings for Q1 2023 (59% ahead of Q1 2022), with the Orange County Convention Center expected to host 36 events through March.
Weekly Lodging Results: For the week ending February 4, 2023, Metro Orlando occupancy was 72%, down slightly from last week but up 27% from last year. The average daily rate was $204.41, up 23.7% from last year.
Around the Destination
Celebrating African American History: The City of Orlando hosted its annual Black History Month signature event at Camping World Stadium to honor African Americans’ contributions and positive influence in the Central Florida community. The event featured a keynote address from the Founder of Equal Ground Education Fund and Action Fund, Jasmine Burney-Clark, performances from residents, live entertainment and more.
Check out Orlando’s Black History Month celebration with events scheduled for this weekend, during the month and throughout the year.
Visit Orlando Engaged!
Lowndes Attorney Breakfast: I had the opportunity to speak about the value of travel and the role Visit Orlando plays in marketing the destination to more than 50 attorneys at Lowndes Drosdick Doster Kantor. Thank you to Visit Orlando general counsel, Bill Dymond, for the invitation!
Building Connections: Visit Orlando team members recently attended Florida Huddle — the official travel tradeshow for Florida with tour operators and wholesalers from around the globe, and Florida Encounter — a meetings-focused show — where hosted planners become familiar with Florida’s premier meeting and event destinations, hotels and services. Our team connected with industry professionals and organizations, promoted Orlando and encouraged future business.
I-Drive Chamber: During the I-Drive Chamber's monthly luncheon, Visit Orlando's chief sales officer, Mike Waterman, and chief marketing officer, Danielle Hollander, shared Visit Orlando’s priorities and key initiatives for 2023 with more than 125 business owners and tourism industry professionals.
UCF Visit: Visit Orlando’s convention sales national accounts director, Ronda Schoeneberg, and destination experience senior manager, Carolyn Martin, spoke to students enrolled in UCF’s Convention Sales & Marketing class. Our team members shared how convention sales and services success impacts Orlando and the travel and tourism industry.
In the News
Travel Lens: US Staycation Index: The best staycation locations in the US
WKMG: Universal Orlando looking to hire 2,500 new team members
USA TODAY: Best US cities for disabled travelers: New York, Las Vegas, Orlando
TTG (UK): Orlando rebounds from pandemic to become top US city destination