As Walt Disney World Resort unveils details behind its much-anticipated 50th anniversary, "The World's Most Magical Celebration" — which starts in October and stretches 18 months into early 2023 — this series of special events will play a defining role in our destination's ongoing recovery.
Moving closer to this milestone, it's encouraging to see how progress in the fight against COVID-19 — especially vaccination rollouts and downward-trending infection rates — is positively impacting consumers' travel intentions. Currently, 84% of U.S. travelers plan to vacation this year, and Orlando is well-positioned to capitalize on this pent-up demand.
Our destination not only leads the way on health and safety measures, but visitors also stand to benefit from continued investment by many of our hotels, attractions and theme parks, including new roller coasters set to open this year at Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando, and yesterday's announcement that LEGOLAND Florida Resort is building the world's first Peppa Pig Theme Park, opening in 2022.
At Visit Orlando, we're doing our part to stoke economic recovery with marketing, publicity and sales efforts designed to bring back leisure and business travelers. Our new multistate ad campaign, The Wonder Remains, is a key part of this strategy — but as you'll see in the stories below, we're also hard at work on several other initiatives to positively impact our industry and community.
Virtual Consumer Travel Show Coming in March
As part of our efforts to inspire future travel, Visit Orlando is offering an all-new experience for those dreaming of an Orlando vacation. For the first time, we're inviting consumers to attend a virtual travel show, where they'll participate in live and recorded content from our member and brand collaborators.
The event, March 25, showcases our destination's many exciting attractions and activities, as well as our extensive health and safety measures. Attendees will be encouraged to participate in "main stage" presentations, hang out in "Orlando Experiences" or discover top Orlando tips. No matter the chosen itinerary, they will learn, engage and have the chance to win prizes.
Beyond this one-day experience, the show will be on-demand for further enjoyment. If your business is interested in potential inclusion, please email us.
Driving Spring Break
Spring break is just around the corner. Our research team is forecasting healthy travel demand, and our marketing and publicity teams are creating programs and exposure to drive demand. For visitors, we recently published a list of 10 Ways to Enjoy Spring Break in Orlando, and we're working with media to showcase reasons to visit – including hosting 18 social influencers in market over the next two months. We've also secured over 20 stories highlighting why Orlando is a great spring break getaway (as covered in this series from Tampa Bay Parenting) with additional publicity focusing on business news and travel forecasts from our research team.
Webinar Shares How Orlando Hosts Safe, In-Person Events
Orlando has become the national model for holding safe, in-person events, and it's important we share our formula for success to help spur greater economic recovery. On Tuesday, our convention sales team presented a virtual case study to over 200 event professionals across the nation. A big thank you to Jody Mosley, operations director of the recent Surf Expo that attracted over 3,000 buyers and exhibitors, for outlining the steps they took to develop and execute a productive show at the Orange County Convention Center. Watch the presentation here.
Extending the Celebration
As Black History Month draws to a close, I hope you were able to experience and celebrate some of our region's many cultural and historical offerings. Of course, Orlando's Black-owned businesses, restaurants and landmarks welcome visitors year-round, so any time is a good time to explore and learn. Looking for ideas? Check out our guide to African-American history and culture in Orlando.
Weekly Occupancy Rate Climbs Above 50%
Metro Orlando's occupancy rate for the week ending Feb. 20 was 50.3%, a strong jump from 42.9% the previous week and our destination's second-highest occupancy rate during the pandemic. It was also the best performance for a non-holiday week over the past 11 months. Average daily rate rose $0.32 to $91.91.