Featured Event

Invictus Games

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Visit Orlando's Content & Social Media team video streamed the announcement of Orlando's record-breaking visitation on Facebook LIVE reaching over 50k people. The LIVE video has been viewed over 7.5k times on Facebook and Periscope for a total time watched of 70 hours and 34 minutes.Visit Orlando was the first DMO to live stream a visitation announcement on Facebook.

Visit Orlando Events

May 12
Business Referral Group

RA Sushi Pointe Orlando
9101 International Drive
Cost: TBD
Click here to RSVP.

July 14
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.

Congratulations Members

The Orlando Eye celebrates its one year anniversary.

Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort have won the Smart Meetings Magazine 2016 Smart Stars award in the category of theme parks.

Member-to-Member Offers


Visit Orlando has teamed up with Copa America to offer special member pricing for the first two matches that will take place at Camping World Stadium on June 4 and 6.


Masterful Wine Events is offering Visit Orlando members 10 percent off the regular prices 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.

Florida HIA (Hospitality Industry Association) is offering a $5 discount off membership to Visit Orlando members and their employees ($30 regular). Florida HIA is the only tourism benefits provider for Visit Florida and many other DMOs. With more than 400 hospitality discounts around the state, it's time for your own Florida getaway. Valid till May 31, 2016. Click here to apply.


Holiday Inn Club Vacations® At Orange Lake Resort is more than a stay - it's a place to play. Enjoy seven swimming pools (including a lazy river-style pool and waterslides), mini golf courses, arcades, four golf courses, tennis courts, an 80-acre lake with plenty of watersports, fun zone and more. Visit Orlando members save up to 10% off your stay. Call 407-477-7029 to reserve your stay. Offer expires June 30, 2016.


Orlando City Soccer Club would like to extend discounted group tickets to Visit Orlando members through Oct. 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 Dec. 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

May 31–June 2
2016 VRM Xtravaganza
Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld

Community Events

jazz greats

May 8–12
Invictus Games 2016
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

May 20
Boys & Girls Club "Celebrate the Children"
Orlando World Center Marriott

jazz greats

May 20
Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter
Dr. Philips Center for the Performing Arts

May 21
Runway to Hope Spring Fashion Soiree
Rosen Shingle Creek

May 21
24th Annual Chef's Gala
Epcot® World Showplace

Through June 5
Behind Closed Doors: The Collection

Art & History Museums – Maitland, Maitland Historical Museum

June 2–4
Hispanic Chamber Business Conference & Expo Revisited
Orange County Convention Center – North Concourse

June 11
100 Black Men of Orlando Scholarship Dinner
Rosen Centre Hotel

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!

To sign up for our e-newsletter, click here.



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President & CEO's Message

May 5, 2016

66 Million Visitors to Orlando!

George AguelAs the music began to build, along with the excitement in the room, our Board Chair, Peter Kacheris and I had the privilege of announcing a milestone in Orlando tourism - 66.1 million visitors in 2015! Under a sky of falling confetti at this week's Travel and Tourism Luncheon, our members, partners and community leaders helped celebrate a visitation number that was not only 5.5 percent higher than the previous year, it was also double what we saw just two decades ago.
This record achievement translates into 33 million room nights sold in Orlando last year, and a tourism development tax of more than $230 million in Orange County. To put it into perspective, since 1995, the destination's hotel inventory has grown by more than 37 percent, topping 117,000 rooms last year; and passengers to Orlando International Airport have risen by more than 72 percent.
There are many who are responsible for this staggering growth, as well as several factors that led to Orlando to again be the top visitor destination in the U.S. Our superb convention center and meeting landscape made us the number one spot for business events while the continued expansion of our theme parks gives families reason to visit again and again. We've established a robust lineup of luxury resorts and amenities for those seeking 5-star service, built world-class sporting and cultural arenas and emerged as a culinary leader with consistent James Beard Award nominations for our local chefs. With all this, it comes as no surprise that Orlando remains the destination of choice for business, family and leisure travel.
All in all, it was an incredible way to celebrate a historic year. As we move forward we continue to focus on our destination's growth, the needs of our visitors and the global marketing and sales efforts by our Visit Orlando team as we expand our reach even farther.

-George Aguel

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From the Research & Insights Desk of Visit Orlando

Global Business Travel Outlook

The Global Business Travel Association's (GBTA) Q1 BTI Outlook finds U.S. business travel will continue to grow only moderately in 2016 as global uncertainty looms. The latest GBTA business travel forecast found that 2016 will look very similar to previous years with anemic but steady growth. U.S. Business travel spending is expected to increase 1.9 percent in 2016 to $295.7 billion and business travel volume is forecasted to increase 2.1 percent to 508.6 million trips. However, there is cause for optimism about 2017 as the health of the global economy becomes clearer due to a number of factors including the U.S. presidential election and the possible "Brexit" of the United Kingdom from the EU becoming resolved later this year. Read more from the GBTA report here.

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Visit Orlando Updates


Good Day Orlando Interviews George Aguel on Record Visitation

Orlando's strong tourism growth generated media headlines this week with our announcement of a record-breaking 66 million visitors to Orlando in 2015. Here, Fox 35's John Brown interviewed George Aguel on what this positive news means to the overall growth of Orlando's hospitality industry.


National Travel & Tourism Luncheon Hosts Hundreds of Members

Hundreds of Visit Orlando members and community leaders convened for Visit Orlando's National Travel & Tourism luncheon at the Hilton Orlando to connect with colleagues and gain the latest industry insights. Plan to attend the next luncheon on August 25. Pictured, Wendy Silva, Enterprise Rent-A-Car.


American Orthodontists Meet in Orlando, Hold Events at SeaWorld and Universal

More than 18,000 members of The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) converged in Orlando this week for the annual meeting of the world's oldest and largest dental specialty organization. The AAO had unforgettable events including opening ceremonies at SeaWorld and the AAO Gala at Universal Studios. The group last met in Orlando in 2004.

Pictured from left: Rodney Gutierrez, Orange County Convention Center; Dixie and Dr. Morris Poole, 2016 President AAO; Vickie Keliher, Visit Orlando; Chris Vranas, Executive Director, AAO.


Promoting Future Travel to Orlando at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai

Visit Orlando showcased the destination and promoted future travel to more than 230 travel trade professionals at the Arabian Travel Market recently. Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Chief of Staff Graciela Noriega Jacoby joined local tourism leaders to represent Orlando to the Middle Eastern, Asian and Indian markets.

These new markets were opened to Orlando last fall with the launch of Emirate's new daily direct flights from Dubai. The new flights have been heralded by local leaders as an opportunity to build leisure and business travel, as well as jobs for local residents.

Participating members included Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Florida Dolphin Tours & Transportation, Fun Spot America Theme Parks, Orlando Magic and Ramada Plaza Resort & Suites International Drive Orlando.

During the trade show, Visit Orlando hosted a cocktail reception in partnership with Emirates Holidays and promoted future travel from the Middle East to Orlando to 230 travel trade professionals.

hang glide

Mexico Social Media Influencers Share Some Great Adventures in Orlando

Mexico's Chilango Magazine, a popular lifestyle magazine that reaches 1.6 million monthly online visitors and more than 2 million followers on Twitter and Facebook, was hosted by Visit Orlando's public relations team.

During the two-day visit, the magazine featured multiple Orlando "adventure" attractions on social media, including Gatorland, Wallaby Ranch, iFly Indoor Skydiving and I-Drive Nascar.


DERTOUR FAM Brings Travel Agents to Destination

DERTOUR, Germany´s leading tour operator for travel to the USA, Florida and Orlando, was hosted by Visit Orlando. The 10 travel agents who participated were awarded a FAM as the winning group of DERTOUR Academy in Las Vegas in November. They stayed at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge and Ramada Plaza Resort and Suites Orlando International Drive.

Their visit included VIP tours of Walt Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort theme parks, shopping at Orlando Premium Outlets and breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.

Kathleen Blake

James Beard Foundation Offering $7,500 In Culinary Scholarships

Aspiring culinary or hospitality event professionals can apply for one of three $2,500 scholarships courtesy of Visit Orlando and the James Beard Foundation. These scholarships can help educate future food and beverage professionals who can then join the area's thriving dining and entertainment scene.

Applicants must be a resident of Florida, have earned a high school diploma or equivalent, and be enrolled, or planning to enroll, in a program of culinary arts, hospitality management, or food and wine studies at either the University of Central Florida or Valencia College.

Application forms are available here. All scholarship application materials must be postmarked by May 15, 2016.



PCMA Education Foundation Visionary Awards Attended by Visit Orlando Team

Visit Orlando was well represented at PCMA's Vistionary Awards, benefiting PCMA's Education Foundation. PCMA, the Professional Convention Management Association, is a non-profit professional organization for people involved in the operation of conventions. This includes education, management, and philanthropy.

This is a networking and marketing opportunity for Visit Orlando. The event is attended by all major destinations and more importantly, top association clients including decision makers and executives. Attending the event gives us the opportunity to network with these top executives, keeping Orlando top of mind within the association and tradeshow community.

The Visionary Awards, attended by 1,100 guests, recognizes the achievements of planners, suppliers and educators. Pictured from left: Susan Bracken, SPARGO; Faye Memoli, Visit Orlando; Kelly Kilga, Graphic Arts Show Company; Fred Shea, Visit Orlando.

world class

Top Meetings Magazine Gives Visit Orlando 2016 "World Class Award"

The 18th annual "World Class Award", voted on by the 5,000+ readers of Insurance & Financial Meetings Management magazine, has been presented to Visit Orlando for outstanding service. The award recognizes organizations that have demonstrated an overall commitment to excellence in hosting meetings and incentive travel programs.


ASAE Springtime Expo Attended by Visit Orlando

The largest single-day meeting industry tradeshow in the country - the 40th Annual ASAE Springtime Expo - took place in Washington, D.C. on April 28th. More than 2,500 meeting industry professionals were exposed to destination messaging through efforts of the Visit Orlando team and members including Orange County Convention Center, Hyatt Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, Doubletree Orlando SeaWorld, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, Disney Destinations and Westgate Resorts. Activities included learning labs, a networking lunch and tradeshow activities. From left to right: Chuck Mincey, Hyatt Regency, Orlando; Alan Enns, Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort; Mary Kreins, Disney Destinations; Nolan Hart, Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa; Margie Sanchez, SeaWorld Parks & Resorts; NaSheba Prentis, Renaissance Orlando Airport Hotel; Lisa Williams, Orange County Convention Center; Farrah Elliott, Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld and Fred Shea, Visit Orlando .


China's Leading Online Travel Agency Learns About All That's New in Orlando

Visit Orlando's Shanghai-based team joined Brand USA China and other U.S. destinations for training seminars at CTrip's call center in Jiangsu province on April 21. CTrip is considered the leading online travel agency in the China market and continues to increase its Orlando offerings. During the sessions, a total of 180 call center staff was updated on the destination.


Association of Meeting Professionals Reception Attended by Visit Orlando

Visit Orlando attended the Association of Meeting Professionals (AMP's) 2016 April meeting of approximately 80 meeting professionals and suppliers held at The DuPont Circle Hotel in Washington, D.C. Pictured from left: Visit Orlando's Ron Keith; Karin Fitzgerald, International Association of Fire Chiefs and Peter Hanley, Source Your Meeting.

Mexican Consumer Magazines Experience Orlando

Visit Orlando, in partnership with Visit Florida, hosted four Mexican journalists this week with publications reaching more than three million readers combined, including US Traveler, Cosas magazine Luxe and Class magazine, and Milenio Viajes newspaper. The group enjoyed accommodations at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek and visited Disney Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom, I-Drive 360 and Winter Park's Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. They were also treated to fine dining options at Boca, The BOATHOUSE and deep Blu Seafood Grille, enjoyed a unique wine tasting experience at The Wine Room in Winter Park, and shopped at The Mall at Millenia, the Premium Outlets and Disney Springs. Stories should appear in issues this summer.


American Rental Association Visits in Anticipation of 2017 Meeting

The Rental Show® - the American Rental Association's annual trade show for the equipment rental industry - will bring more than 12,000 attendees to the destination in February 2017. The planning team looked at hotels, the Convention Center and off-site venues. The Rental Show returns to Orlando every three years. The planning team for the American Rental Association pictured from left: Chris Wehrman, CEO; Chris Hammes, VP, Association Services; Marissa Feehan, Meetings & Events Manager; Jenni Swanson, Director, Association Programs/Director of Development-Foundation, and Chris Coleman, Director of Marketing.


Best Buy Brings Top Salespeople to Orlando

Best Buy brought more than 1,000 Company Achievers and guests to Orlando this month as a reward for their top performance. The group held a general reward and vendor interaction session at the Convention Center, stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando and the Loews Royal Pacific at Universal Orlando, and visited Orlando theme parks.

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News About Orlando


Next Week at the Convention Center

Group Meeting Start End Estimated Attendees Estimated Economic Impact
ASEA, LLC ASEA Annual Convention May 12 May 14 3,000 $5,910,000

Orlando Eye

The Orlando Eye Marks First Year with Special Celebrations

The Orlando Eye celebrates the first anniversary of the 400-foot-tall observation wheel this week. In honor of the milestone, the Eye hosted a first birthday party and is being lit with special rainbow lighting all week. Also as part of the celebration, the Eye Spy Prize Patrol will randomly award prizes to guests now through May 8, Including complimentary tickets, merchandise, VIP packages and gift cards to I-Drive 360 retailers and restaurants. For more information on the observation wheel, visit OfficialOrlandoEye.com.

Update on Orlando City Soccer Club

Orlando City Soccer Club's stadium is on schedule, according to an article in the Orlando Business Journal. The much-anticipated 25,500-seat arena is set to open March 2017, said Orlando City Soccer Founder and President Phil Rawlins.

Read More

Magical Matrimony at Cinderella's Castle

Beautiful weddings have long been staged at Walt Disney World' Magic Kingdom, but now Cinderella Castle serves as a backdrop for Magical Matrimony. Couples can say their "I do's" in the heart of Magic Kingdom Park as trumpeters herald a bride's grand entrance down Main Street, U.S.A. aboard Cinderella's glass coach or horse-drawn carriage.

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Orlando Sanford Inaugurates Non-stop Flights from/to Mexico City on Interjet

Visit Orlando representatives joined the Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) to welcome Mexican low-fare Interjet airline in its non-stop inaugural flight from Benito Juárez International Airport (MEX) in Mexico City, Mexico. The flight marked the first scheduled airline service between Mexico and SFB, which will initially operate four days per week.

OCCC Ballroom Gets a Facelift

The renovation and remodel of the Valencia Ballroom at the Orange County Convention Center is well under way, including an updated look of the 62,182 square-foot ballrooms as well as adjacent dressing rooms and restrooms. The project is expected to be completed this fall, and follows similar updates as the Tangerine Ballroom which were completed in August 2015.

Company Closes on Land to Build Andretti Indoor Attraction

EPR Karting LLC, an entity-related to Kansas City, Mo.-based real estate investment trust EPR Properties, has officially closed on the land needed to build the Andretti Indoor Karting attraction on Universal Boulevard.

Read More

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Industry News

air travel

Customers Give Airlines Higher Grade This Year

Airlines, long one of the lowest-scoring industries in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), have, in the last four years, been getting some good grades. Customer satisfaction with airlines is up 4.3 percent to 72 percent, matching its peak from 1994. Big hikes in customer satisfaction for American Airlines and United Airlines helped push the industry average higher.

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Favorable Business Conditions on the Horizon, Say Meeting Planners

The latest quarterly Meetings Outlook from Meeting Professionals International revealed seven of 10 respondents see "favorable" business conditions on the horizon, with 43 percent predicting growth in domestic corporate meetings and 59 percent expecting an increase in meeting budgets during the next 12 months. Nearly six in 10 respondents expect attendance increases over the next 12 months as well.

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trade show

ASAE Reworks 40-year-old Travel Trade Show to Increase Member Engagement

The Center for Association Leadership (ASAE) is reworking their Springtime Expo to engage their membership base better in the 21st century by developing more collaborative education and networking environments, according to a story this week in Skift. ASAE, which represents 21,000 association executives, has been bringing together destinations, hotels, association executives and association meeting planners during Springtime EXPO for 40 years.

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CDC Zika Information

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), its most current data available (May 4, 2016) indicate that zero (0) locally acquired cases have been reported in the United States, while 472 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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Corporate Ambassadors
ARDA Bags BB&T British Airways Clear Channel Outdoor
Darden Fairwinds Credit Union Florida Distributing Company Florida Hospital The Florida Mall
Lufthansa The Mall at Millenia Orlando Economic Development Commission Orlando Health Orlando International Airport
Orlando Magic Orlando Premium Outlets OUC Smart City Tupperware Brands
United Service Companies
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