Over the past week, new developments have been occurring at an increasingly rapid pace as the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to impact more regions across the globe.
As we all know, this is a fluid situation that is changing by the moment. Thankfully, no cases have been confirmed in Orlando or Florida, and the U.S. public faces low immediate risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the same time, the CDC is warning communities across the nation to prepare for potential spread.
Our team at Visit Orlando is monitoring the situation, working closely with the appropriate officials and industry partners, and providing information about the destination's preparedness to clients and media.
We have seen no impact to leisure visitation to date, nor have we had any conventions at the Orange County Convention Center cancel plans. Regarding the potential impact of global travel advisories, it's important to note that our visitation is largely domestic, and international markets account for less than 9% of our total visitation.
Orlando also is fortunate to be home to some of the most respected tourism companies in the world, who take safety very seriously. For example, our facilities that are the most common stops for visitors — the airport, convention center and our world-famous theme parks — all employ similar rigorous sanitation standards. These standards include ongoing employee education and training; frequent cleaning and disinfecting of common high-touch surfaces; providing hand sanitizer and washing stations for guest convenience, especially now during this cold and flu season; and ensuring guests have easy access to on-site medical support.
Looking ahead, it's clear that the world at large faces a highly uncertain future about COVID-19. As we prepare for what may come, please know that my entire team at Visit Orlando is working closely with our member companies, community leaders and public health officials on behalf of our destination's best interests.
Congratulations to Star Award Winners in Forbes Travel Guide
As a testament to our destination's luxury travel appeal, six Orlando hotels, spas and restaurants were recognized this week as Star Award winners by Forbes Travel Guide. Victoria & Albert's restaurant at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa earned a coveted five-star rating for its "personalized service, theatricality and sheer luxury." Properties earning four stars include: Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World; The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort; The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes; The Ritz-Carlton Spa Orlando, Grande Lakes; and Waldorf Astoria Orlando. In addition, Hyatt Regency Orlando and Capa Steakhouse earned "recommended" honors.