As we embark on this critical year in our destination's recovery, Visit Orlando's research team is here to support our industry and community. We continue to actively monitor numerous sources of data, developments and destination metrics, which we'll share with you on a regular basis.
Looking ahead, we expect travel to remain depressed during the next few months, given the rising case counts and limited access to vaccines. However, recovery should accelerate during the second half of the year, assuming vaccine production and distribution ramps up in the second quarter. When that happens, Orlando is poised to benefit, given our strong destination marketing presence and the financial health of America's core traveling audience.
Even further out, leisure travel is predicted to be the first segment to fully recover (likely in 2022), while business and international travel experience a longer recovery period. Total travel volume, including leisure, business and international, is forecast to surpass pre-pandemic levels by 2023.
Members: Please do not hesitate to email our research team if we can assist your 2021 planning.
Excitement Builds for New President & CEO
Last week's announcement of our new president and CEO, Casandra Matej (MAH-tay), continues to be positively received across the industry. So far, the news has appeared in more than 50 media outlets and trade publications, and the local community is eagerly anticipating her start on Feb. 1.
Lodging Sector Update
» TDT on the rise: Tourist Development Tax collections in Orange County for November were $8.77 million (see chart below). While that is a 66% decrease from November 2019, it was a 14% increase from October and the seventh straight month of incremental gains. We expect December will continue this trend, based in large part on increased visitation over the Christmas holidays. Read More
» 2020 Demand: The official numbers won't be released until later this month, but we expect 2020 Metro Orlando hotel demand to decline 56% from 2019 (34.5 million room nights sold in 2019 vs. about 15 million in 2020). Demand in 2021 is forecast to rise to about 23 million room nights.
» Weekly Occupancy: Metro Orlando's occupancy rate for the week ending Jan. 2 spiked to 52.3%, up from 38.8% the previous week. Thanks to both Christmas and New Year's, it is by far the highest occupancy seen during the pandemic. Average daily rate rose $15.32 to $111.99.
Behind the Scenes at Safe, Successful Events
Our destination, in partnership with the Orange County Convention Center, continues to host successful in-person events. To share with potential clients how these events are thriving with enhanced health and safety protocols, our marketing team produced two videos featuring interviews with attendees and exhibitors from the AKC Royal Canin Dog Show and Central Florida International Auto Show. Go behind the scenes to see how Orlando is meeting today for a stronger tomorrow.
Serving Our Community
We're honored to have been included in Central Florida Lifestyle magazine's "Most Inspiring Moments" from 2020, based on our work with Visit Orlando's Magical Dining, Feed the Need Florida, Orlando to Go and #407Days We were proud to find new ways to support our local restaurants, small businesses and community partners — and we will carry those efforts into 2021.
Agrusa Selected to Lead CFHLA
Congratulations to Robert Agrusa for being named President and CEO of the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association. Agrusa, a Florida native, has been a leading advocate for years within the Central Florida business community, including recently serving as president and CEO of the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce. Read more
New Member Spotlight: Museum of Illusions
On Saturday, the Museum of Illusions will open its first Florida location at ICON Park™. The mind-bending "edutainment" experience features over 50 eye-fooling exhibits based on math, science and psychology. Through Jan. 31, residents and visitors can enjoy special "preview days" pricing for $15.
Generosity on Display
Thank you to our member companies who provided free lunches to Florida Department of Health staff administering the COVID-19 vaccine to local EMS workers over the holidays. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.