Jones Inducted as Chair of Visit Orlando

Adrian Jones of Merlin Entertainments USA was inducted as Visit Orlando's board chair Thursday at the organization's Annual Meeting & Luncheon. He replaces Don Engfer of Tishman Hotel Corporation, who will stay on as past chair. New board members include Scott Hudgins (Disney), Thibaut van Marcke (Orlando Health), John Arie Jr.(Fun Spot America) and Paul Mears III (Hello! Destination Management). Board members whose service has ended include Graciela Noriega-Jacoby (Heart of Florida United Way), Chuck Carns (Mears Transportation Group), Peter Kacheris (Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek) and Jim Burns (Grande Lakes Orlando).

Aguel Joins SeaWorld at HQ Groundbreaking

Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel helped SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment break ground Thursday on its new 41,000-square-foot headquarters on Sea Harbor Drive. The building, which will house both park and corporate employees, is projected to open in fall 2019. Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey were also part of the ceremony.

Magical Dining Month Raises Record $251,766

Visit Orlando's 13th annual Magical Dining Month raised a record $251,766 for two local charities: Best Buddies and the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida. Best Buddies creates opportunities for inclusion and one-to-one friendships for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida offers hope, acceptance and empowerment for all individuals with Down syndrome and their families.

Visit Orlando Helps Judge HS Culinary Competition

More than 250 Orange County high school students participated in the Eighth Annual Hospitality & Culinary Competition at the Orlando World Center Marriott on Nov. 30. Students demonstrated their talents by competing in a variety of contests. Renowned chefs from the local industry, as well as professionals from Disney, Universal, Loews Hotels, Hilton, Darden, Johnson & Wales, UCF Rosen College, Valencia College, AAA National, Visit Orlando and more judged the competition.

Brazilian Tour Operators Converge on Orlando

Visit Orlando showcased Orlando to 20 tour operators and media during the Brazil Superfam Nov. 3-11. Participants experienced Orlando's theme parks and entertainment venues, as well as world-class shopping and dining across the destination. In addition, a marketplace and destination training allowed tour operators to network with accommodation and non-theme park members. As a result, our destination was featured in several trade media outlets including Mercado e Eventos, Brasilturis and Panrotas.

Visit Orlando Hosts Training in Mexico
On Nov. 21, Visit Orlando and its partners held a year-end training event in Mexico City for 160 travel agents, providing them with the knowledge and tools needed to sell our destination. As a result, several media outlets covered the event including Report al Dia, Trafico Magazine, Pasillo Turistico and Invertour.

Engaging with Top Planners at Events

Visit Orlando's convention sales team attended the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners' "Elevate, Educate and Engage" event in New Orleans Nov. 28-29, as well as ConferenceDirect's Forum Meeting in Huntington Beach Nov. 27-30. These highly attended industry events help Visit Orlando connect with association and corporate planners from across the U.S. and drive future business to our destination.

LGBTQ Magazine Touts Orlando's Uniqueness

The Visit Orlando publicity team recently secured coverage in the December issue of Passport, a gay travel and culture magazine. The feature article - a result of a recent destination orientation - explored the many sides of Orlando, from quirky to chic, including Walt Disney World Resort, The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, ICON Orlando 360, Skeletons: Museum of Osteology, Orlando Starflyer, the Pulse Memorial and Get Up and Go kayaking.

20K Attend Power Convention at OCCC

The world's largest power generation event, POWER-GEN International, brought together more than 20,000 attendees and 1,400-plus exhibitors at the Orange County Convention Center Dec. 4-6. POWER-Gen will return to Orlando on even years through 2024.

UK Winter Campaign Set for Christmas Launch

To influence a key booking period, Visit Orlando will launch its UK and Ireland campaign this month, encouraging families to plan their 2019 holiday to Orlando. More than 263 million impressions will be generated as a result of the integrated, high-frequency media plan, which will run through Jan. 31.