Visit Orlando is about to hold our first major member function in over a year, and I'd like to extend an invite. Our Travel & Tourism Event is being offered virtually and in person (with limited seating) May 4 from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Orange County Convention Center's Valencia Ballroom.
If you'll be joining us face to face, register soon to secure a spot ($20 for members, $35 non-members); the link also includes an option for free virtual attendance.
Of course, just as our destination has set the standard for safe, in-person meetings and experiences, our Travel & Tourism Event will include temperature checks, mandatory masks and social distancing.
We'll spend the hour recognizing the importance and impact of Central Florida's leading industry, acknowledging indicators of our bright future and hearing from guest speaker Erin Francis-Cummings, president & CEO of Destination Analysts, on how traveler sentiment will impact Orlando's road to recovery.
Personally, I'm thrilled to finally be coming together again, especially during National Travel & Tourism Week (May 2-8), and I look forward to meeting many of you for the first time. See you there!
Got Your Shot Yet?
We are proud to partner with Orange County on the I Got My Shot public safety campaign, launched this week in collaboration with the Florida Department of Health and partners across our region. The campaign is designed to debunk vaccine myths, highlight trusted voices in the community and encourage residents to get vaccinated.
If you've received your COVID-19 vaccine, please share your selfie on social media using #IGotMyShot to let your friends and family know it was safe, easy and free. Together we can protect our community and build up immunity to start connecting again!
Orlando in the News
Our publicity team continues to secure a variety of positive coverage for our destination across national, international and trade media. Recent hits include Meetings Today praising our "pandemic pivot," USAE writing about our celebrations for Global Meetings Industry Day, and USA Today featuring several of Orlando's water parks. We even saw an encouraging rebound of overseas travel interest with a piece in The Mirror, one of the UK's top newspapers.
If your business is interested in gaining media coverage by hosting future journalists, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connecting with International Visitors
An important part of Visit Orlando's long-term marketing strategy is staying in touch with international travelers and stoking their desire to vacation here when the time is right. Over the past year, our marketing team has kept Orlando top of mind with e-newsletters to Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.
At the start of the pandemic, our messaging focused on virtual tour opportunities. But as international visitation grows increasingly more plausible, our strategy has shifted to include more content that inspires future travel planning, addresses health and safety measures, and showcases what's new in Orlando.
Welcome New Members
Please join me in recognizing our newest members. These companies are committed to working with us to brand, market and sell our destination, and we welcome their engagement!
I'm excited to share that Visit Orlando and several of our members are shortlisted nominees in the 28th annual World Travel Awards, with representation in categories that include North America's Leading: "City Destination," "Airport" and "Tourist Board." A few other nominations for Orlando companies include:
North America's Leading Theme Park Resort - Universal Orlando Resort, Florida - Walt Disney World, Florida
North America's Leading New Resort - JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa
Florida's Leading Family Resort - Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort - Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando™
WTA voting is open to all through Aug. 2, should you like to support the Orlando nominees listed above, as well as many more in other categories. Winners will be announced Oct. 14.
The SISO CEO Summit
I enjoyed attending this week's Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) CEO Summit alongside so many talented trade show industry leaders. (I'm pictured here with Mark Tester, executive director of the Orange County Convention Center, and Lenay Gore, senior director of meetings and trade shows with the American Public Transportation Association, who just relocated her convention to Orlando).
The summit provided important learning and networking opportunities, with attendees discussing what they expect the industry to look like in the next several months. Sessions included topics ranging from what we can learn from other industries' responses to the pandemic to leadership development workshops and an executive women's forum.
Blake Shelton Opens Ole Red in Orlando
There was a lot of excitement in the air last night, as country music superstar and The Voice host Blake Shelton came to Orlando to help open his new restaurant Ole Red in ICON Park. Those lucky enough to be there got to hear him speak about his reasons for choosing Orlando for the newest Old Red location, one of four in the country: because of our destination's reputation for being fun. That reputation is one we work to showcase throughout all our efforts, and we're proud to see it drawing in such unique and entertaining businesses.
Metro Orlando's occupancy rate rose again this week, reaching 68.6%, up from 66.4% the previous week. Average daily rate also rose $1.73 to $117.52.