President & CEO
Casandra Matej is the president and CEO of Visit Orlando, the destination marketing organization of the most visited destination in the U.S. and Theme Park Capital of the World.
She is responsible for leading the branding, marketing and selling of the Orlando destination globally to drive Central Florida’s $76 billion tourism industry. The not-for-profit trade association also represents over 1,100 member companies.
Matej is the first female CEO in the organization’s 37-year history. She has been honored for her leadership in local communities and in national hospitality and meetings industries. She has been named one of the 50 Most Powerful People by Orlando Magazine, 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.
Matej is an active leader engaged in driving tourism on national, state and local levels. She serves as a board member of the U.S. Travel Association nationally, and in the Orlando community, serves on the Orlando Economic Partnership Board of Directors, Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association Board of Directors, Florida Citrus Sports, and Air Team Orlando, which helps recruit and maintain air travel to the region. In addition, Matej is co-chair of the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, a group of more than 50 leaders across local government, the business community, nonprofits and the healthcare sector.
Matej holds over two decades of experience in the tourism industry, including, prior to her Orlando role, 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 San Antonio’s legendary Spanish colonial missions. She also has held leadership roles in both destination and corporate industry arenas, at organizations such as VisitDallas, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Hyatt Hotels.
Her immediate focus is spurring recovery of the powerful Orlando tourism industry, which, pre-pandemic, drew over 76 million visitors to the region. Tourism is vital to the economic health of Central Florida and historically supports 41% of the local workforce.
Casandra 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.