This week, we get you up to speed on some key news from I-Drive and Orlando International Airport, as well as the latest on tourism employment and global travel.
Mayor Demings' 'State of I-Drive' a Success
This afternoon, I had the pleasure of joining a sold-out audience of industry professionals and community leaders as Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings delivered his inaugural State of I-Drive address. Attendees learned about the many cutting-edge innovations and projects transforming the I-Drive corridor, as well as the positive economic impact it generates for Orlando's economy. The Mayor's contributions to the advancement of our region's No. 1 industry are greatly appreciated.
Orlando International Voted 'Best Large Airport'
Fueled by visitors to America's most visited destination, Orlando International is consistently recognized as one of the world's best airports. USA Today is the latest to take notice, with its readers voting OIA the "Best Large Airport" in North America. Speaking of firsts, OIA also recently became the first airport to earn full accreditation by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program. And just last week, OIA announced it is now Florida's only airport serving 50 million passengers on a rolling 12-month basis.
Tourism Employment Grew by 4.1% in 2019
I'm happy to share that Orlando experienced its 10th straight year of leisure and hospitality employment growth (4.1%) in 2019, a testament to our tourism industry's ongoing strength. This sector of the economy also outpaced Orlando employment overall (3.3%) and accounted for 12,500 jobs, 29% of our region's total job growth. Studies have shown that tourism helps fuel downstream economic activity into multiple business sectors, serving as a catalyst for diversification of our region's economy.
Questions About Coronavirus and Travel?
Serving as the region's industry spokesperson on issues that could impact tourism, we have been closely monitoring the global coronavirus developments and crafting messaging for potential inquiries. If you have questions related to travel to Orlando, I encourage you to reach out to our communications team, who can assist with responding.
The Central Florida region has had no additional measures recommended at this time from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Florida Department of Health regarding the coronavirus, as our airports do not have direct air service from China and there have been no cases detected in our state. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and follow federal and state guidelines. It's also important to note that, according to the CDC, the virus is not currently spreading in the U.S. community, and for the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk is considered low. As always, particularly during the winter flu and cold season, travelers are encouraged to adhere to healthy travel practices just as they do at home, including washing hands, staying updated with vaccinations, and avoiding close contact with those who are sick. Click here to monitor the latest updates from the CDC.
National Plan for Vacation Day
Did you know that more than 758 million vacation days went unused last year? That's an average of 6.5 days for every American worker. This week, the U.S. Travel Association joined forces with tourism industry leaders to encourage Americans to plan their vacations. The nationwide effort helps highlight the importance of taking time off to travel, both for personal wellbeing and the economic prosperity of our nation.
OTHER NEWS FROM VISIT ORLANDO
» Our marketing team has launched a winter campaign targeting moms and families in Canada, our largest international market. Running through March 29, the campaign promotes our warm destination during Canada's cold winter, a key booking period for trips to Orlando.
» To showcase Orlando as a destination for adults, featuring options both within and beyond the theme parks, our publicity team worked with writer Jillian Dara on USA Today's article "How to have a bachelorette party in Orlando."
» To support new direct flights from Brazil, Visit Orlando partnered with Gol Airlines and several member companies to host a destination training for more than 170 travel professionals in Manaus. Nonstop flights to our destination from Manaus, one of Brazil's most popular cities, occur every Saturday.