I hope you can join us Dec. 10 for our Year-End Celebration Luncheon at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, where we’ll be toasting Disney World’s 50th anniversary with a magical mix of festive fun and industry insights.
In addition to celebrating our destination’s success in 2021, we'll also explore what’s ahead for Orlando in 2022 — and you won’t want to miss our keynote speaker, Scott Mallwitz, executive creative director for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. His presentation, “Awaken your Creativity, presented by Walt Disney Imagineering,” is just what we need to kickstart the new year.
Seats for this event are limited, so secure your spot early. As always, health and safety continue to be our top priority; face masks are required for all guests, unless stationary and actively eating or drinking.
See you there!
Convening with Convention Planners at IMEX 2021
Several members of our team just returned from IMEX in Las Vegas, the nation’s largest meetings industry tradeshow, where we networked with attendees from across the global incentive travel industry. In just three days, we hosted over 600 meeting planners, welcomed 200 planners and journalists for our “Wake Up with Visit Orlando” breakfast, and held 16 “Orlando Update” group presentations — setting the stage for a strong 2022 and beyond.
Florida MICHELIN Guide Sparks Major Media Interest
Last week’s announcement about the first-ever Florida MICHELIN Guide, coming in 2022, led to positive headlines across local, state, national and international media. To date, more than 60 articles have reported the news, including stories in prominent outlets like The New York Times, TravelPulse and MSN. It’s wonderful to see such enthusiasm and widespread exposure for Orlando’s amazing dining scene.
TDT Flat in September, but Fading Delta Variant Provides Hope
Orange County collected $16.5 million in Tourist Development Taxes for September, virtually unchanged from the previous month and 93% of September 2019, when the threat of Hurricane Dorian disrupted travel plans to Orlando.
Fallout from the delta variant, first felt in August, continued to impact the hotel industry in September. However, early indications suggest October was much better, thanks to declining case numbers, rising traveler sentiment and popular fall events throughout our destination.
For the week ending Nov. 6, Metro Orlando hotel occupancy was 55.9%, down slightly from 57.5% the previous week. Average daily rate rose $3.52 to $130.15.
Looking Ahead: Travel Forecast
Domestic: The number of American travelers with trips planned has risen to the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic, with 91% planning to travel sometime in the next six months.
International: Seat capacity into Orlando International Airport is growing in November and December, but the recovery will be gradual and vary by market. The UK is showing the most immediate impact, while Canada and Brazil may be slower to recover. We anticipate international travel to gain momentum in spring and summer 2022, with full recovery in 2023.
Holidays: Metro Orlando’s advance hotel bookings for the week of Christmas to New Year’s are about 91% of pace when compared to this point in 2019, indicating a strong holiday season to close 2021.
Visit Orlando Wins Two Industry Awards
Visit Orlando has been named the Best U.S. CVB/DMO for Meetings & Conventions (large category) in the 2021 Prevue Visionary Awards, as voted on by Prevue’s readers and advisory board. We also received Northstar Meetings Group’s Stella Award for Best CVB/DMO in the Southeast, honoring our consistent delivery of quality service and innovation to meeting and event professionals. Thank you to the many Visit Orlando team members, and our partners across the travel landscape, whose hard work and dedication make this type of recognition possible.
Travel Industry Applauds Passage of Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Congress passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, or BIF) marks a significant milestone that is long overdue. This bill, championed by the U.S. Travel Association for months, is a major accomplishment for our industry — it will revolutionize the way people travel in the U.S. and ensure we can emerge from the pandemic with stronger, more efficient systems that are better equipped to handle a resurgence in travel demand. Read more about the bill’s travel-related provisions here.
Around the Destination
The Brits are back! On Monday, when U.S. borders opened to fully vaccinated travelers, our team was on hand at Orlando International Airport to welcome the first flight from the UK, a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330 with 262 passengers from Manchester Airport. Flights from London Heathrow (our first ever) soon followed. Thank you, Fox 35, for my on-location interview about the impact of international travel on our local economy.
Disney’s 50th: Our team enjoyed learning about all the new and exciting updates in store for Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th anniversary celebration, as part of Disney’s “Marketing the Magic” event at Contemporary Resort.
Florida Blue Florida Classic: On Nov. 20, Orlando will welcome back one of the nation’s oldest and largest HBCU rivalries when Florida A&M faces off against Bethune-Cookman in the Florida Blue Florida Classic at Camping World Stadium. Event revenues support scholarships at both universities, and Orlando wins too, as the game generates nearly $30 million annually for our economy. Buy your tickets here.
Across the Industry
WalletHub: Orlando No. 2 destination for Thanksgiving
Hospitality Net: Fairmont Orlando set to open in 2025
Travel Weekly UK: Delta’s international bookings soar by 450% ahead of US reopening
Orange County Government: New ‘Bizlink Orange’ a resource for entrepreneurs, small businesses
Orlando Sentinel: Ripley exec to donate beard to hairball for good cause at IAAPA Expo
In your service,
Casandra Matej | President & CEO