President & CEO
Casandra Matej is the president and CEO of Visit Orlando, the official marketing organization for America’s most visited destination and Theme Park Capital of the World. She leads the branding, marketing and selling of the Orlando destination on a global scale, working with 1,200 member companies across the tourism landscape.
Matej is the first female CEO in the nonprofit organization’s 37-year history. She has been named one of the 50 Most Powerful People by Orlando Magazine and a Game Changer by the Orlando Business Journal, as well as recognized as one of the Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry by Meetings & Conventions Magazine and listed among the 500 Most Influential Event Professionals list by BizBash.
With three decades of service in the travel industry, Matej is an active leader engaged in driving tourism on the national, state and local levels. Her current board involvement includes the U.S. Travel Association, VISIT FLORIDA, Orlando Economic Partnership, Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association, Downtown Orlando Partnership, Florida Citrus Sports and Air Team Orlando, which helps recruit and maintain air travel to the region. In addition, she co-chairs the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, a group of more than 50 leaders across local government, the business community, nonprofits and healthcare.
Prior to joining Visit Orlando in February 2021, Matej spent 10 years as president and CEO of Visit San Antonio. Through her vision, Visit San Antonio achieved record highs in convention sales and marketing programs, united the destination’s visitor experience by developing one of the largest tourism ambassador programs in the country, and spearheaded the pursuit of a UNESCO World Heritage designation for the region’s legendary Spanish colonial missions. She has also held leadership roles at VisitDallas, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Hyatt Hotels.
Matej’s immediate focus is spurring recovery of the powerful Orlando tourism industry, which, pre-pandemic, drew over 76 million visitors annually to Central Florida. Tourism is vital to the region’s economic health, historically supporting 41% of the local workforce and generating $75 billion in annual economic impact.
Matej holds a Bachelor of Science in Speech Communications with a concentration in Organizational Communications from the University of Texas at Austin. She and her husband, Chris, are proud parents to John and Ellie Mae, and step-daughters Madison and Carlie. In her spare time, Matej enjoys golf, boating, beach and — of course! — theme park vacations with her family.