Tourism is not only the foundation for why Orlando is a great place to live, work and play, it’s also the key to rebuilding our economy. That’s why now is the perfect time to celebrate “The Power of Travel” as part of National Travel and Tourism Week, May 2-8. 

We kicked off the festivities a little early this year, giving our annual presentation to Orange County commissioners Tuesday during a ceremony that included a proclamation from Mayor Jerry Demings. You might have seen some of the news coverage of the event, which appeared on several local outlets like WFTV and News 13. Thank you to Robert Agrusa of the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association for joining me as we presented pineapples — the international symbol of hospitality — to the mayor and each commissioner. 

In the coming days, you'll notice how we’re spreading the message about “the power of travel” through billboards, marketing promotions and social media; I’m also conducting interviews with several media outlets, and as an organization we’ve got a lot more lined up for each day next week (details below).   

To learn more about how you can promote our industry’s role in restoring, rebuilding and reconnecting our community, check out this toolkit from the U.S. Travel Association.  

Monday, May 3

Mayor Demings will highlight the impact of tourism during his afternoon press conference, and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and I will join him. Social campaigns, set to run throughout the week, will include a “residents’ favorites” list of restaurants and attractions on Yelp and interactive TikTok challenges for hospitality workers.  

Monday also marks the launch of a new campaign between Frontier Airlines, Visit Orlando and four of our animal-centric members. This national promotion will ask consumers to vote for the next animal that will grace the tail of a Frontier plane. Just in time for National Travel & Tourism Week, the campaign will drive affinity for our destination while promoting our outdoor experiences. Voting is open May 3-16, and participants have a chance to win one of 10 flights to Orlando.  

Tuesday, May 4 

Perhaps the day I’m looking forward to the most, Tuesday will feature our first major member function in over a year. Visit Orlando’s Travel & Tourism Event, offered virtually and in person, will take place at the Orange County Convention Center’s Valencia Ballroom from 3 to 4 p.m.  

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. Register today

Wednesday, May 5

One of my priorities as president and CEO is to leverage partnerships as a key to economic recovery. In that respect, I’m proud to serve on the board of the Orlando Economic Partnership, and on Wednesday I’ll be speaking to the OEP board about some of the ways tourism powers our entire community. 

For example: Did you know that when Orlando tourism is operating at full capacity, visitor spending supports 463,000 jobs, generates over $75 billion in annual economic impact, and provides $5.8 billion in local and state tax revenue? In addition, 51 cents of every dollar in Orange County sales tax comes from tourists. 

Thursday, May 6

We’ll spend Thursday thanking those who make tourism possible: hospitality workers across all industry sectors — from lodging and dining to entertainment, attractions and events. Their collective efforts power our destination’s success, and we want to honor them for the roles they play.

Friday, May 7

Last but not least, I’m taking Friday to recognize the Visit Orlando staff for their hard work throughout the past year. Our employees have been innovative, cooperative and committed to uplifting our industry and community, and I am proud to call them my colleagues.  


Orange County updates social distancing guidelines, plan for phasing out face masks

American Airlines is seeing early signs of corporate travel recovery

Orlando International Airport moves up in ‘busiest airports’ rankings
Orlando’s new theme park attractions among 18 hottest for 2021
The future is Orange: a return of conventions to the Orange County Convention Center

Deadline for Real ID for air travel pushed back due to pandemic

In your service,

Casandra Matej

Casandra Matej | President & CEO
Visit Orlando