Looking back on the weather-related uncertainty of the past several days, the most important news for Orlando is that fortunately Hurricane Dorian produced minimal impact to our region.
Proving once again their resiliency and ability to resume operations, quickly, our destination experienced little down time and with a few exceptions were operating the same day the storm passed, some as early as 7:30 a.m.
In the meantime, our Visit Orlando team was active this week to ensure our visitors felt safe and reassured. Pre-storm, we worked closely with member hotels and Orange County to assess available rooms for evacuees, created an informational resource page on our website, and helped answer questions through our Visitor Center, phone and live chat.
As the sun rose the next morning, we ramped up communications to assure the world that our attractions, hotels and other services were operational and the destination was in full swing, including issuing an advisory to global travel media. We also shared on social media post-storm images of sunny skies and theme parks, and engaged with visitors who were planning to visit soon. To help offset softness from Labor Day weekend cancellations, we are increasing our advertising and publicity campaigns targeting nearby markets, reinforcing timely reasons to get away and visit our seasonal events and activities.
Through these combined efforts, as well as the continued programs of our partners, the outlook for the year remains positive.
Video Interview: Visit Orlando Magical Dining Charity
This year, half of Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining funds will benefit Lighthouse Central Florida, which helps children and teens with impaired vision adjust to their reality with confidence. We recently spoke with Lighthouse about how they’ll use the funds to expand their early intervention programs for young children. It’s such a worthy cause, and this video really shows why.
OTHER NEWS FROM VISIT ORLANDO
» The start of college football season caused a bump in tourism, thanks to Florida facing Miami Aug. 24 at a sold-out Camping World Stadium. From Aug. 18-24, Orlando’s occupancy rate climbed 7% over last year and average daily rate shot up 10%. Hotels enjoyed even better results that weekend, as occupancy grew 17% Friday and 20% Saturday.
» Employment in Orlando’s leisure and hospitality sector totaled 276,400 jobs in July, a 3.8% increase from July 2018. Growth in industry employment accounted for nearly 21% of total non-agricultural job growth in the Orlando statistical area.
» Thanks to an individual press trip organized and hosted by our publicity team, Orlando received recognition in Forbes. The article highlights how our one-of-a-kind destination is not only a theme park hotspot, but also home to outdoor adventures, culinary excellence and unique local communities.
» To promote Aerolíneas Argentinas’ new direct flights from Buenos Aires to Orlando, Visit Orlando recently hosted 240 travel professionals during destination orientations in two of Argentina’s most populated cities: Cordoba and Rosario. The three direct flights will start weekly in December and run through mid-March.