Last Friday, 50 lucky people hopped off a Spirt Airlines flight to start the vacation of a lifetime — and we were there to offer a warm Orlando welcome!  

Jennifer Young of Long Island, New York, winner of Visit Orlando’s Most Magical Gathering Contest, shared the incredible experience March 4-7 alongside friends and family of all ages. 

Together, they celebrated the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort and personal milestones that included 50th birthdays, Sweet 16s, graduations and even an 80th birthday! Spirit Airlines and Disney helped us roll out the red carpet for an unforgettable weekend in Orlando, which featured roundtrip airfare, one-of-a-kind private parties, special character welcomes, theme park tickets and lodging at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. 

In addition to a wonderful four days for the Young Family, this registered as Visit Orlando’s largest-ever promotional contest, generating 52,000 entries, strong national publicity and over 1 billion impressions to keep Orlando top of mind for spring travel. 

Thank you to Walt Disney World and Spirit Airlines for partnering with us on such a fun, rewarding campaign. 

Preparing for Global Meetings Industry Day 

Leading up to Global Meetings Industry Day April 7, we’ll be spotlighting the benefits of meeting face to face — and how it’s being done here in Orlando, the No. 1 destination for safe, successful, in-person events.

Help us celebrate GMID by lighting your building blue on April 7. You can also contribute a 5- to 10-second video for our social channels (email video submissions here) and post your own content using #OrlandoIsMeeting and #GMID2022.

Attending ANATO in Colombia

We recently joined VISIT FLORIDA in Bogota at the Association of Colombian Travel Agencies (ANATO), networking with over 700 exhibiting companies and 26,700 industry professionals. Colombia’s largest tourism trade show was the ideal forum to drive overseas visitation by showcasing all that is new in our destination. 

Flights from Colombia to the U.S. have been increasing steadily since last year, culminating in a healthy travel rebound. In fact, Florida had 709,000 Colombian visitors in 2021, becoming the top international market for our state in terms of visitation.  

U.S. Travel Association Recommends Updated Travel Advisories 

Following the CDC’s new guidance, the U.S. Travel Association has drafted a letter urging the Biden administration to replace pandemic-era travel advisories, requirements and restrictions. This letter outlined six recommendations to enable travel to resume fully and safely and, in turn, help the American economy accelerate its recovery. It was signed by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, Airlines for America and the U.S.

Yesterday, the Transportation Security Administration announced it would extend by one month the current mandate (which had been set to expire March 18) for mask use on public transportation and in transportation hubs.

2022 MexTour Heading to Orlando 

Orlando’s reputation as a hotspot for sports continues to grow. On April 27, the 2022 MexTour will kick off at Camping World Stadium when Mexico faces Guatemala. This game is sure to draw a large crowd, as the Mexican national team regularly draws upward of 60,000 fans when it plays in the U.S. So, don’t wait — buy your tickets today! 

Another Strong Week for Lodging Sector

Metro Orlando weekly occupancy for the week ending March 5 was 78%, down from last week’s pandemic-era high of 85.9% yet still one of the highest levels since March 2020. Average daily rate was $158.11, down from $169.21.

This strong performance was supported both by leisure and group segments — and we have a lot to look forward to, with key source markets starting their spring break seasons this weekend and the HIMSS conference coming to town Monday. 

Around the Destination

HIMSS Reception: This week, our destination services team partnered with the Orange County Convention Center to host a reception and concert at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts for clients with the Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society. The HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition is projected to attract 26,000 attendees March 14-18. 

onePULSE Foundation: Yesterday, Visit Orlando joined Barbara Poma, executive director of the onePULSE Foundation, and her team for a tour of the Pulse Interim Memorial. This impactful site visit included plans for the future of the National Pulse Memorial & Museum and Orlando Health Survivors Walk.  

Pace Center for Girls: Also yesterday, Danielle Hollander, our chief marketing officer, helped the Pace Center for Girls set SMART goals through her work on the Women United steering committee.

In the News

TravelPulse: Orlando is No. 1 domestic spring break destination

Orlando Sentinel: Meet the James Beard Award semifinalists

Blooloop: Area 15, immersive art and entertainment district, coming to Orlando in 2024

Orlando Weekly: The most anticipated restaurants coming to Orlando this spring

Good Morning America Online: Advice for planning a post-COVID vacation

TravelPulse: US Travel Association asks White House for help with leisure and hospitality jobs

Orlando Sentinel: Orlando bids to host Army-Navy football game in 2027

Brand USA: Celebrating the 12th anniversary of the Travel Promotion Act

GOAA: Innovative technologies enhance experience at MCO’s newest terminal

Casandra Matej

In your service,
Casandra Matej
Casandra Matej | President & CEO
Visit Orlando