Yesterday marked my 100th day as president & CEO of Visit Orlando, and the video above provides an update on four of my key priorities: discovery, recovery, partnerships and DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion).
I've learned a lot from listening these past 100 days, with each person gifting me new insights into what Orlando offers and what it needs to thrive. Looking ahead, I hope to hear more of your feedback during our upcoming strategic planning process (stay tuned for details).
New CDC Guidance
Yesterday, the CDC issued new guidance that allows fully vaccinated people to "resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state or local laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance."
Mask wearing is still required for public travel and at our theme parks and attractions. But new developments are occurring at a fast pace: Universal Orlando and SeaWorld recently removed temperature screenings and revised their distancing requirements from 6 feet to 3 feet in certain areas, while Walt Disney World is enacting similar changes.
In addition, it's likely that our theme parks will make official announcements soon on raising their self-imposed capacity limits. With increased visitation such a vital part of our destination's success, this would be a major boost for our region's ongoing economic recovery.
Orlando in the News
Our publicity team continues to secure a wide variety of coverage for our destination. Here's a look at some of our recent efforts:
» Recent influencer visits continue to yield stellar results, like those featured in the video above. We have hosted 83 influencers to date, with more on the way! If you're interested in hosting future visits, make sure you are receiving our publicity leads or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
» Our partnership with The Travel Mom led to a segment on WABC New York about things to do in Orlando and safety precautions, reaching an audience of over 2 million.
» Exhibitor Online shared an in-depth interview on how Surf Expo partnered with the Orange County Convention Center for a safe, successful event.
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and Visit Orlando is bringing attention to our local community through a number of initiatives. This month, we're publishing a landing page on Orlando's Asian American and Pacific Islander history and culture; partnering with Ricky Ly — founder of TastyChomps.com — on YouTube videos and a blog showcasing local Asian dining; working with media on publicity efforts; spotlighting restaurants on TikTok and Instagram; and promoting events sponsored by the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida. Look for more on our website and social channels.
Let's Go There!
Visit Orlando is proud to be partnering with the U.S. Travel Association for the summer phase of its 2021 campaign, Let's Go There, running May 17 to June 4. The goal is to reignite Americans' sense of wanderlust and inspire them to plan, book and take their next getaway, with Visit Orlando's efforts directing travelers to Orlando. Our social team started supporting the campaign at the beginning of February and will be moving into a more actionable phase for the summer portion.
Metro Orlando's occupancy rate for the week ending May 8 was 55.9%, down from 58.2% the previous week. Average daily rate fell slightly to $107.87.
The Resumption of International Travel
This week, the U.S. Travel Association and leaders of 23 global travel companies sent a letter to President Biden advocating for reopening borders and welcoming back international visitors by July. At Visit Orlando, we support this endeavor as a crucial step in our industry's full recovery. I encourage you to read the letter and learn more about the three-step approach it outlines for restarting international travel.