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Thursday, August 25, 2016

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Visit Orlando celebrated Independence Day with a full week of patriotic social media posts. Red, White and Blue from attractions across the destination was represented in social salute to America.

Visit Orlando Events

July 21
Business Referral Group

Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine
7600 Dr. Phillips Boulevard
407-352-6766 (directions only)
Cost: $25 inclusive
Click here to RSVP.

August 4
Member Orientation
Click here to register.

Member Presents
Members interested in targeting the meetings and convention market can present their products or services during monthly, 30-minute sessions with Destination Services. Click here to schedule a session.

Member-to-Member Offers

Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort is offering Visit Orlando Members up to 10% off of their stay. Call 407-477-7029 to reserve. Offer expires September 30, 2016.

Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows is offering all hospitality employees a $5 discount on any After Hours show. An employee ID or recent paycheck stub is required to receive the discount.

Every Sunday from 4 p.m.-10:30 p.m., Vincenzo Cucina Italiana is offering 50% off bottles of wine under $100. Offer ends August 31, 2016. Cannot to be combined with other offers.

Electric Vehicle (EV) drivers can power up at Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores and Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa. For local residents and visitors driving electric vehicles, shopping and traveling is now easier with the installation of a NRG EVgo Freedom Station®. EV drivers will find shopping hassle-free at Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, where consumers can find factory-direct premium quality merchandise at savings up to 75% off at select stores. For holiday shopping hours and more information, including a downloadable coupon to be exchanged on site for a coupon booklet valued up to $400 in savings, visit LBVFS.com.

Receive $10 off a season subscription to the Annie Russell Theatre at Rollins College. For $55, you'll receive one ticket to The Foreigner, Upton Abbey: An Improvised Comedy of English Manors, A Piece of My Heart, and Urinetown, The Musical. Visit rollins.edu/annie for tickets and use code: VISITORLANDO.

Celebrate Mondays with Prime Mondays, a new three-course menu for $49.95 that's only available at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse.

Dollar Off Drinks is extending a 20% discount on their 6-month and 1-year memberships to Visit Orlando members. To redeem, use promo code: visitorlando.


Masterful Wine Events is offering Visit Orlando members 10 percent off the regular price of wine, beer and spirit tastings. The venue located in the Church Street Historic District hosts up to 40 people while larger groups can be accommodated in the venue located across the street. Tastings and classes can be designed as spouse entertainment, team building (structured as a competition) or as an enhancement to a dinner or cocktail reception. Tastings can also be held at trade show booths, which has doubled traffic for past clients. To reserve your tasting, call 407-906-8622 and mention Visit Orlando.

hard rock

Hard Rock Café Orlando is offering Visit Orlando members free delivery on all offsite corporate catering. This could include breakfast or lunch meetings, customer appreciation events, employee appreciation events, holiday parties, etc. Customizable menus and options are available to fit the event's budget and vision. To claim this offer, email Jaclyn Eiler and reference the Visit Orlando website. Expiration date: August 31, 2016.


Orlando City Soccer Club would like to extend discounted group tickets to Visit Orlando members through October 24, 2016. Click here to download information on group pricing discounts. Contact Christopher Benavides at cbenavides@orlandocitysc.com or call 407-480-4762 for more information.


Sammy Duvall Watersports, located behind Disney's Contemporary Resort, is proud to offer Visit Orlando members 10 percent off all water activities (parasailing, personal watercrafts, wake boarding, water skiing and more) now through December 31, 2016. To claim this offer, call 407-939-0754 or email reservations@sammyduvall.com, and mention the offer code "visitorlando10" when booking.

ALL4 ONE SPORTS would like Visit Orlando members to experience Bubble Soccer. Enjoy a one-hour party rental at Soccer XL Indoor Soccer Complex for 10 players. Bump the competition and blow off some steam. To redeem this $400 offer, call 386-624-4084 or email all41sports41@gmail.com, and mention the offer code BUMP when booking.

Industry Events

SITE Florida & Caribbean Summer Educational Summit takes place July 27, 2016 at The Alfond Inn, 300 East New England Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789

To celebrate its own "Sweet 16" birthday, Discovery Cove launched a national sweepstakes promotion. One lucky winner and 15 friends will win a trip to Discovery Cove, including roundtrip airfare, two nights' hotel accommodations, transportation and a VIP guest package. To enter the sweepstakes, go to DiscoveryCove.com/Sweet16.

DTO photo contest

Orlando Attractions Unite to Launch #WhatILoveAboutOrlando Campaign and Contest. They want to hear from locals, tourists, business owners, hospitality workers - anyone and everyone with a special place in their heart for Orlando. Chime in on your own social networks using #WhatILoveAboutOrlando, and tagging (Facebook: Orlando Attractions United, Twitter: @OrlandoUnites, Instagram: @OrlandoAttractionsUnited). Submit a written response, photo, or video; whatever helps best express your passion for The City Beautiful. For more information about the grand prize and official contest rules, please visit sleuthsorlando.blogspot.com.

DTO photo contest

The Downtown Development Board, in cooperation with the Downtown Arts District, is holding the third annual Best of DTO Photo Contest. Photographers of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to submit their photos to any of the five categories: Live, Work, Play, Panoramic and Lake Eola Park. Click here to submit your photo. Photos must be submitted by July 18, 2016.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort will host a new Night Lights event, starting June 18. The event will include extended hours, Lego Ninjago-themed fireworks, rare character meet-and-greets and chances to work alongside the park's master model builders. Night Lights is included in regular park admission and will run on Saturdays and Sundays through July 31.

Aquatica, SeaWorld's Waterpark Orlando will host a summer event series called Island Nights. Guests can enjoy extended park hours, live DJs and a special menu at the park's Waterstone Grill. Island Nights is included with park admission and runs every night, July 7 - Aug. 6.

Community Events

June Through December 31
Complimentary Hotel Shopper Shuttle
Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets

June Through September 30
Give Kids The World Event Sponsorship
Miniature-golf courses participating around the nation

June 18-August 7
About Summer Nights
SeaWorld Orlando

June 21 Through August 20
Complimentary Wine Tastings Nightly
Flemings Prime Steakhouse

July 15 Through September 4
Art & History's Untold Stories Exhibition
Maitland Art Center

July 17
Harpist Catherine Way
Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum

Through August 14
Orlando Museum of Art Florida Prize in Contemporary Art
Orlando Museum of Art

Through Aug. 31
Conversations: Selections From the Permanent Collection
Cornell Fine Arts Museum 

Focus Exhibition: Tiffany Studios' Daffodil Reading Lamp
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

Louis Comfort Tiffany's Laurelton Hall
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

Permanent Collection of Earl Cunningham Paintings
The Mennello Museum of American Art

Revival and Reform-Eclecticism in the 19th-Century Environment
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

Inside/Out: Steel, Paper, Bronze
The Mennello Museum of American Art

Connect With Visit Orlando

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Be sure to follow us at @VisitOrlando on Instagram and Twitter, fan us at facebook.com/VisitOrlando or watch us at YouTube.com/VisitOrlando for more insider information about the world's most famous destination!

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President & CEO's Message

July 15, 2016

Orlando's "Must-Attend Event" of the Year

George AguelAfter announcing record-breaking 2015 visitation numbers, Visit Orlando is in the midst of aggressively promoting Orlando for the rest of 2016 and planning for 2017 - both of which involve adapting to the latest  economic and marketing trends.  Join us to learn more about these global trends at the annual Business of Travel & Tourism Economic Forum and Luncheon, both of which will be held Thursday, August 25 at Hilton Orlando.

Come for the morning general session to hear economic insights that impact your business and new trends on the horizon. This forum will kick off with leading global economist Aniban Basu, back for a return engagement at the enthusiastic request of our members.  Following his insightful perspectives on the global economy, Visit Orlando economist Daryl Cronk will share research data and an outlook of what this means for our local tourism industry.

Following the economic forum, join us for a luncheon of networking and more on-trend news, including a surprise speaker and announcement you won't want to miss. 

So please make your plans to join us this day - you will learn information that will help market your business, network with colleagues, and have a great time.

I look forward to seeing you there.

-George Aguel

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From the Research & Insights Desk of Visit Orlando

Positive News on the US Economy

Recent news about the U.S. economy has been largely positive. First-quarter growth in Gross Domestic Product, the broadest measure of economic activity, was revised up to 1.1% indicating the economy grew more than initially thought. In other economic news, the Consumer Confidence Index rose to 98.0 in June, up from 92.4 in May. Both the Present Situation Index and the Expectations Index rose in June, suggesting consumers have more favorable views of both the current state of the economy and the outlook. And the June Labor Market Report delivered a positive surprise showing a gain of 287,000 jobs during the month, well above expectations. While some of Orlando's key international origins are experiencing challenges in their economies, the domestic economy appears to be moving in a positive direction.

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Visit Orlando Updates


Orlando's CEO and the OCCC Grace Top Association Magazine Cover

George Aguel and Orlando's Orange County Convention Center was the featured cover and cover story in top association magazine Associations Conventions & Facilities (circ.20,500+). The coverage not only mentioned Orlando's #1 spot on Cvent's list of top meetings destinations, Orlando was also sited across the country as a destination that boosts attendance for Associations. Visit Orlando members mentioned in the piece included The Orange County Convention Center, hotels, theme parks and other attractions. Read the full article here.

magical dining

Get Ready for Magical Dining!

The website for Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month sponsored by American Express is now live. Sample some of the Orlando areas finest and most talked about restaurants - each offering special three-course menus for $33 available August 29 - October 2, 2016. With so many great options and the increasing popularity of the program, make your reservations now on OrlandoMagicalDining.com. One dollar from each meal will benefit the Russell Home for Atypical Children.

Last year, Magical Dining raised $160,725 for charity Elevate Orlando.


Flying High in Orlando

Visit Orlando was excited to land Orlando on the cover of Brazil's Azul Magazine's (circ. 90,000) July issue. The 9-page spread featured some of Orlando's most unique and exciting attractions, including Orlando Balloon Rides, Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour, I-Drive 360, Fun Spot and more. The article focused on presenting the multitude of activities, diverse culture and "vibrant" gastronomy offered outside the theme parks. With its picturesque photographs and detailed descriptions, this article covered some of the best must-sees in Orlando for Brazilian travelers. Azul Magazine is the monthly in-flight magazine from Azul Airlines; also available online (1 million UMV).


Religious Meetings Magazine Features Orlando

The summer issue of Aspire, the signature magazine published by RCMA (Religious Conference Management Association) features Orlando. The magazine touched on the history of Disney, the expansion of the Orlando Orange County Convention Center and all that's new in the area including Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, renovations including the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld and also gives a plug to the array of restaurants in the area. Read more.

A Season of Theme Park New Attractions

Estado de S. Paulo, one of the most important daily newspapers in Brazil (circ. 268,241), published a special story about Orlando in its weekly travel supplement this June. The two-page article focused on the "season of premiers", where stars like Darth Vader, Elsa and Olaf, King Kong, Hulk and other known characters take the lead in some of Orlando's newest and hottest attractions. From Disney's StarWars Launch Bay to SeaWorld's new Mako coaster, the article features some of the most exciting summer attractions coming to Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Orlando, LEGOLAND Florida and I-Drive 360 this summer - the season of premieres!


Chicago Sales Mission Hosts 28 Clients

Visit Orlando held its annual Chicago Sales Mission, July 11-13, 2016. Ten of our partners joined us for three days of sales calls in which we met and presented to 10 association and corporate customers culminating in our summer client event, Adele Live in Concert at the United Center, which was attended by 28 of our key Chicago clients.


Visit Orlando Welcomed the American Sportfishing Association This Week

Visit Orlando welcomed the Sportfishing Association during ICAST 2016. ICAST is the world's largest sportfishing trade show with over 12,500 people in attendance, and is the premier showcase for the latest innovations in fishing gear, accessories and apparel. As the cornerstone event of the sportfishing industry, the show helps to drive recreational fishing product sales year round. ICAST 2016 took place at the Orange County Convention Center, July 12-15. From left: Mike Nussman, American Sportfishing Association President & CEO; Ronda Schoeneberg, Visit Orlando; Kenneth Andres, American Sportfishing Association Trade Show Director; Adrienne Six, Visit Orlando; Casey Sofka, Visit Orlando; Glenn Hughes, American Sportfishing Association Vice President, Industry Relations.



First Meeting of the 2016 U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board

The first meeting of the 2016 U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board in which George Aguel was appointed June 30th was held recently. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the appointment of 32 members to the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB).

First chartered in 2003, TTAB serves as the advisory body to the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the travel and tourism industry in the United States. The board members represent a broad spectrum of the travel industry, including hotels and restaurants, financial services, transportation services, as well as a variety of small and large firms from across the country.


Visit Orlando Pre-Promotes MDRT Coming to Orlando in 2017

Ambassador Jan Manzella represented Visit Orlando at the Middle Dollar Round Table (MDRT 2016) in Vancouver, BC. Their 2017 conference will be here June 4-7, 2017. Attendance was approximately 11,500; a stronger attendance is anticipated for 2017.


Florida United Numismatists

Visit Orlando attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and welcomed the Florida United Numismatists on Thursday, July 7, at the Orange County Convention Center. The 10th Annual Summer FUN Convention was held July 7 - 9, 2016. Numismatic dealers from around the country converged to buy, sell and appraise coins, paper currency, tokens, medals and other items.


Pfizer Planners Hosted by Visit Orlando

Susan Zeiri hosted an educational weekend for BCD meeting company dedicated to Pfizer over June 23-26. This is the first time that the Pfizer account has been allowed to travel for education purposes and we were selected as the first destination of choice. We brought in their director of operations along with three additional senior sourcing managers for the weekend where we experienced 14 hotels and venues such as Pointe Orlando, Disney Springs and Epcot.

This trip paid off in spades in ROI as we have our first tentative from Pfizer with a hotel that has been off their radar for years.

Visit Orlando's Barbara Balaguras Speaks at PCMA

Visit Orlando sponsored the Hosted Buyer Luncheon at PCMA Education Conference in St. Louis on June 25th. This conference had over 700 attendees and 32 meeting planners attended the Luncheon with Barbara Balaguras from Visit Orlando and Kathleen Cotter with Orange County Convention Center.


Top Indian Newspaper Invites Adventurers to Sunny Orlando

The Hindu (circ. 1,558,379) featured Orlando's adventure activities in an article July 11. Resulting from a recent press trip in partnership with Visit Florida, the piece covers both outdoor adventure and theme park thrills, including: Orlando Balloon Rides, Brevard Zoo, Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Rides and Universal Orlando Resort.


Travel & Leisure Mexico Magazine Features Orlando

Travel and Leisure Mexico (circ. 186,000) dedicated six pages to Orlando destinations and featured the story on the cover of their latest issue. From theme parks like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and Kennedy Space Center, to luxurious hotels like Waldorf Astoria, Four Seasons Resort and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, the magazine described Orlando as "the city that strengthened itself through fantasy."

The article also highlighted some of Orlando's newest and most notable restaurants, including Morimoto Asia and STK at Disney Springs, in addition to mentioning the city's impressive 66 million visitors in 2015. Other noteworthy venues mentioned include: Orlando City Soccer, Amway Arena and Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Orlando was also featured in a 7-page article in the magazine's March edition.

Art Smith

Another Restaurant Opens at Disney Springs

The social media team got a first look at Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine and met owner and chef Art Smith on opening day in the Town Center of Disney Springs. Smith joins fellow celebrity chefs Masaharu Morimoto (Morimoto Asia) and Rick Bayless (Frontera Cocina) at Disney Springs.

Legoland Florida: Very Green and Colorful Bricks Near Orlando

Viaje Na Viagem, a Brazilian site dedicated to travel and tourism, published an article last month highlighting the thematic areas and attractions of LEGOLAND Florida - perfect for adults and children alike. Along with a wide collection of photos, the article also offers tips of places to eat around the park and details about LEGOLAND Water Park. The Viaje Na Viagem website has more than 1.6 million unique monthly visitors, and the coverage was a result of a FAM hosted by Visit Orlando.

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News About Orlando


Next Week at the Convention Center

Group Meeting Start End Estimated Attendees Estimated Economic Impact
Microsoft Corporation Microsoft MGX July 20 July 22 17,000 $33,490,000
National Council of La Raza, Inc. National Council of La Raza Annual Conference & National Latino Family Expo July 23 July 25 20,000 $39,400,000
World Federation of Hemophilia World Federation of Hemophilia - World Congress July 24 July 28 5,500 $10,835,000

Skull Island

Skull Island: Reign of Kong is Now Open at Universal Orlando Resort

Skull Island: Reign of Kong brings the next generation of the King Kong legend to life on an unprecedented scale. The adventure begins as guests are transported deep into a mysterious world, where their mission is to discover creatures of unknown origin with the 8th Wonder Expedition Company, the research team leading the excursion. After braving ancient temple ruins and encountering hostile natives, they board a massive 40-foot-long, 17-ton expedition vehicle to navigate the increasingly foreboding terrain.

Read More

The Orlando Eye will be officially renamed the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye

The 400-foot observation wheel on International Drive in Orlando will hold a media event to officially launch the new name on July 28, according to a news release. In addition to the new name, the news release says to expect "exciting changes" to come to the observation wheel. No details about those changes were given. The Orlando Eye is the center of I-Drive 360, an entertainment complex that also includes the SeaLife Aquarium, the Skeletons Museum and Madame Tussauds.

Read More

I-Drive Gets New Helicopter Ride

The view of International Drive and the Central Florida area looks vastly different hundreds of feet in the air - something AMP Group's latest attraction wants to share with tourists.

Read More

Domino World Championship Returns To Orlando

More than 1,000 domino players from over 20 countries will gather at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort for three days of intense competition starting July 20, 2016 at the XIII World Domino Championship. This prestigious tournament with a purse of $40,000 is held yearly around the globe to decide who is the best domino player in the world. This is the fourth time the event is played in the USA and the third in Orlando bringing an economic impact to Central Florida of over $1 million.



Univision Films Domino Competition and Orlando

Univision was in town to film The World Domino Competition and attractions around Orlando (pictured above at Lake Eola Park). Visit Orlando formed a partnership with the organizers and producers in an effort to showcase the breadth and depth of the destination throughout the broadcast.

Sapphire Falls Welcomes First Guest

Universal Orlando's fifth on-site hotel, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, welcomed its first guests this week. The 1,000-room Caribbean-themed hideaway features the destination's largest resort-style pool with a water slide, cabanas and a fire pit. The pool is surrounded by two sand beaches, a picturesque waterfall and a breathtaking lush lagoon, which will take guests to Universal Orlando's two incredible theme parks and CityWalk via water taxi. The hotel will also feature several unique and immersive dining experiences.

Orlando International Airport Update

Starting this week passengers will notice a lot more construction inside the main terminal building at Orlando International Airport. The North Ticket Lobby project is under way. The ticket lobby expansion will incorporate new technology and provide greater capacity. This project is a portion of the airport's $3.1 billion Capital Improvement Program (CIP).

"We're building on the Orlando experience for over 40 million passengers annually," says Phil Brown, Executive Director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. "In order to enhance the overall passenger experience including safety, comfort, ease and speed, we must work through the challenges of visible construction activity in the terminal. So, we ask for patience and understanding as we begin this process."

The first area inside the main terminal building to be impacted by the renovation is the "A" terminal west end, where the ceiling tiles will be removed in preparation for ticket counter replacements.

New Restaurant Debuts at Disney Springs

Visit Orlando's latest blog is a preview of the new restaurant by Rick Bayless at Disney Springs - Frontera Cocina. Experience authentic Mexican cuisine created by the celebrity chef which has recently opened in the new Town Center section of Disney Springs.

Read More

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Industry News

The Cheapest Weeks for Summer Travel

A new study out of Hotwire analyzed all their summer booking data and found that the most affordable time to travel this season will be the last two weeks of August, reports Condé Nast Traveler. For later-summer trips, mid-September queries also showed dips in average hotel rates in major American cities.

Emirates Announce Upgrade of Larger Plane on the Dubai - Orlando at MCO

Due to popular demand after one year of operation, Emirates has upgraded to a larger plane which will offer 88 more seats per day on each flight - equating to 32,120 more seats a year.

Emirates Named the World's Best Airline for the Fourth Time

Emirates has been named the world's best airline at Skytrax World Airline Awards. The global ranking, based on votes from millions of travelers worldwide, was announced at Farnborough Airshow. The airline has also won the title for the World's Best In-flight Entertainment.

Read More


Lawmakers from Both Houses Reach Deal on FAA Reauthorization

Leaders from the House and Senate have agreed on a FAA reauthorization package that would fund the agency through September 2017 while offering airport security enhancements and consumer protections for airline passengers, reports Travel Weekly. If signed into law, it would expand the TSA Precheck program, tighten vetting standards for airport employees and expand canine deployment in airports. It would also redeploy TSA personnel to optimize checkpoints and mandate security assessments of all foreign airports that serve the United States.

Global Business Travel Spend On the Rise

Global business travel spend topped $1.2 trillion USD in 2015, growing 5 percent over 2014, and is forecast to reach 1.3 trillion in 2016 according to the GBTA BTI Outlook – Annual Global Report & Forecast, a new report released by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of GBTA.

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CDC Zika Information

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), its most current data available July 13, 2016) indicate that zero (0) locally acquired cases have been reported in the United States, while 1,305 travel-associated cases have been reported. For the most current information about the Zika virus, visit the CDC's Zika page.

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