From honoring tourism's leader of the year to forecasting the performance of Orlando's lodging sector in 2020, here's your weekly look at what's happening across America's most visited destination.
Congratulations to Brian Comes, Tourism Leader of the Year
This week, I had the pleasure of joining local leaders across our business community to honor Brian Comes, Visit Orlando executive board member and area vice president of Hyatt Regency Orlando, as i4 Business magazine's Tourism Leader of the Year. His engagement and leadership in our region's hospitality industry and community relects his commitment to our desintation's success.
2020 Lodging Forecasts Highlight Growth in Demand
As a result of strong leisure and business travel, Orlando's 2020 lodging forecast calls for room-night demand to increase between 3 and 4%, which would be first among the nation's top 25 markets. Orlando is the nation's second-largest hotel market, and between 2019 and 2020 we are projected to add nearly 9,000 hotel rooms — our largest expansion over the past two decades.
Visit Orlando Receives Platinum Choice Award
I'm pleased to share that Visit Orlando was recently recognized by Smart Meetings magazine, an industry leading publication, as a Platinum Choice award winner for overall excellence. Several member companies, including Universal Orlando Resort, the Villas of Grand Cypress, and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, were also recognized. As the No. 1 overall meetings destination in the U.S., we are honored to once again make this year's list.
AKC National Championship Returns to Orlando
If you happen to see an unusually large gathering of adorable pooches strutting their stuff on I-Drive this weekend, don't be surprised. Nearly 200 dog breeds from around the world are competing at the Orange County Convention Center as part of the AKC National Championship. With more than 5,200 dogs registered, it is the largest draw in the history of the American Kennel Club. The event, which has been held in Orlando since 2016, is expected to generate $64 million in economic impact.
Tourism Has Added Nearly 10K Area Jobs in Past Year
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Orlando's tourism industry added 9,800 jobs in October 2019 versus the same month last year. This reinforces our industry's continuing investment in our region.
Investing in the Next Generation of Hospitality Leaders
At Visit Orlando, our community outreach includes partnering with organizations that mentor high school and college students for success in Central Florida's largest industry. Recently, our team spoke to students enrolled in the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism programs at Freedom and Olympia high schools, as well as Orange Technical College, about the role Visit Orlando plays in selling, branding and marketing our destination. In addition, we participated in an educational conference organized by Rosen College undergraduates and attended by more than 150 high school students.
Dr. Dan Holsenbeck has held important leadership positions at UCF since 1985 serving our community and the state. He also has a long history of working closely with our tourism industry. At yesterday's meeting of our Visit Orlando Board of Directors, Chairman Adrian Jones and I recognized Dan for his incredible 21 years of service on our board. Thank you, Dan! We are grateful for the commitment you've given our organization and entire destination.
THIS WEEK ON THE BLOG
As we prepare to welcome 2020, Visit Orlando's blog takes a walk down memory lane, highlighting all the attractions, restaurants and resorts added to our destination this past year.