Before diving into this week’s edition, take a moment to watch this video  — my personal invitation to join us at our April 6 virtual State of Recovery event. 

Click the link above to register, and please feel free to submit questions in advance. See you there!

Visit Orlando & Destination Updates 

This week I continued my “destination discovery” process, connecting with many wonderful leaders across our region and sharing Visit Orlando’s tourism recovery efforts with local partners such as Orange County’s Tourist Development Council, the Orlando Economic Partnership, PCMA Southeast chapter, and Expedia Group’s annual Orlando Partner Forum.

Partnerships such as these are key to our destination’s recovery. Please feel free to reach out if you are interested in hearing more about the impact of tourism locally as it relates to your own industry or line of business, and how our organizations can work together.

I was also honored to share tourism recovery insights with our community through several interviews with local media, including this guest column in the Orlando Sentinel on our industry’s evolution one year after COVID-19, as well as this appearance on Fox35 's “Orlando Matters."

Nationally, we secured a positive feature on MSN and Tribune promoting Orlando as a safe spring break destination. I was thrilled to be able to showcase how “Orlando is setting the national example for entertaining people in new ways that are immersive yet also seamlessly incorporate the new safety measures of today, whether it’s an outdoor Mardi Gras celebration at Universal, or first-of-its-kind outdoor viewing pods for arts performances in downtown Orlando.”

Another Week of Record-Breaking Hotel Occupancy

For the second consecutive week, Metro Orlando hotel occupancy set another “recovery-era” record, coming in at 66% — nearly double what we had been experiencing over the course of January.  

This is by far our highest mark since the pandemic began, and it’s driven by spring break visitors, pent-up demand, increasing travel confidence and Orlando’s destination-wide commitment to health and safety. 

Weekend occupancy soared to 81%, and the average daily rate for the week ending March 20 was $102.91, up 12% versus the same week last year.  

Virtual Consumer Trade Show a Success

Yesterday, Visit Orlando hosted thousands of attendees for “The WONDER Awaits You,” our first-ever virtual travel show for people dreaming of an Orlando getaway. I want to thank our many member companies that participated, donating their time and generous prize packages. Because of their support, these future travelers received information that both enticed and encouraged them to visit soon, providing the tools and confidence to plan a safe, unforgettable Orlando vacation.

Global Meetings Industry Day

Global Meetings Industry Day is quickly approaching on April 8. We hope you will join us, along with the US Travel Association’s coalition, Meetings Mean Business, to celebrate the meetings and conventions industry. Visit Orlando will spend the day showcasing the value that business meetings, trade shows, incentive travel, exhibitions, conferences and conventions bring to local businesses and our community at large. Look for more details on how you can get involved in our next issue.

Congratulations, Mayor Demings!

Finally, congratulations to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings for being named the 2021 MLK Humanitarian of the Year by the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida. The award commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s belief that progress is achieved through cooperation, compassion and understanding — and Mayor Demings certainly exemplifies those qualities. Thank you, Mayor, for your lifelong commitment to making our community a better place.


Spring break brings life into I-Drive  
Disney begins testing optional facial recognition for entry to Magic Kingdom
Five industry meetings taking place in 2021
Walt Disney World Resort offers first-ever license plate design for Florida car owners  
Riptide Race slide to open at SeaWorld’s Aquatica next month 
Orlando in the top 5 for most popular summer leisure flights 

In your service,

Casandra Matej

Casandra Matej | President & CEO
Visit Orlando