As the top destination in the country, it’s reasonable to wonder if we’ve reached maximum potential. Is Visit Orlando’s marketing incrementally impacting future visits and spending? Is there a point where our efforts and money don't move the needle? These questions have sparked recent public discussions.

At Visit Orlando, research and insights are the foundation of all our plans. According to the data, we have numerous opportunities to sustain and grow visitation:

  • Out of the world’s 195 countries, Visit Orlando advertises in only 10 international markets. Of those 10 markets, Orlando’s share of top of mind awareness against competitors ranges from 1.2% to 10.6%. There's room to grow within our current 10 markets and potential to expand into brand new countries.
  • In the US, over the past three years Orlando welcomed 37% of the family market traveler and 22% of the non-family traveler. Again, numbers that show opportunity for growth.
  • Plus, Orlando is not a one and done destination crossed off the bucket list without future thought. We have over 120 days worth of things to see and do with more on the way. Orlando can attract repeat visitors.

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In addition to research, before our plans move forward, marketing experts from across the region on Visit Orlando’s marketing committee review and provide valuable feedback. On this topic, recent feedback included that none of us—as a single entity within the market or as a destination—is remotely approaching the point of market saturation with our marketing programs.

Visit Orlando continues to have an extraordinary opportunity to move the needle for our destination.

And yet, we are facing both increased competition and headwinds from the current political climate. This is not the time to pull back. In fact, I’d argue that to combat these obstacles, we need to be even more aggressive with our marketing efforts. We cannot take success for granted.

If we don’t continue to invest, our competition—other cities, destinations and entire countries with hefty tourism marketing budgets—will swoop in to steal our market share.

Every year the visitor count turns back to zero. To drive future success, we must generate awareness, get Orlando in the consideration set for future travel and find different types of visitors. And, we must protect the share in our key source markets while finding new sources of visitors.

To learn more, I’d encourage you to join us on August 24 for both the general session that dives deeper into our marketing strategies and plans for the future, and at our luncheon where the keynote speaker will focus on working across generations.

Mall at Millenia main entrance at evening

Orange County and Orlando a Hotspot for Retail Real Estate

retail market is one of the nation’s strongest. According to Matthews Real Estate Investment Services™, a commercial real estate investment services and technology firm, Orlando scored a record high in rent growth, surpassing 8.5% in Q4 2022 and 8.3% in Q1 2023 in its Retail Market Report. The report shares highlights, upcoming developments and fast-growing areas ideal for new retail and restaurant concepts, like downtown Winter Garden and the Milk District.

In addition, Orange, Osceola, and Lake County areas have had a high increase in rent growth. The Business of Fashion—a website and online magazine that builds fashion’s global membership community to open, inform and connect the industry—shared a post on Instagram that listed Orange County (and the city of Orlando) as hotspot areas for retail real estate, leading our competitors, including Miami, Las Vegas and Tampa.


Attend Visit Orlando's Signature Luncheon

Save the date! Visit Orlando’s Insights Luncheon & General Session on Thursday, August 24, at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort is swiftly approaching. Visit Orlando's leadership team, chief sales officer Mike Waterman, chief marketing officer Danielle Hollander and senior corporate counsel & VP of external affairs Stan Rubins will provide key updates and insights to help inform your 2024 plans at the morning session. During the luncheon, Jason Dorsey, president of The Center for Generational Kinetics, will deliver an interactive presentation with new insights into Gen Z and working across generations. I hope you consider attending this valuable event. If interested in purchasing corporate tables, please contact


June 2023 TDT Collections

Orange County's Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections for June came in at $30 million—a 7.3% decrease compared to June 2022. In comparison to last month, collections were higher by $3.8 million and higher than June 2021 collections by $8.3 million.

Orange County government designates TDT funds for specific purposes, including promoting tourism, the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), sports stadiums and arenas, performing arts venues and museums.

Hotel Metrics

For the week ending July 29, 2023, Metro Orlando occupancy was 71.9%, down from last week’s 75.3% rate and down 3.3% from the same week last year. Average Daily Rate was $173.15, up 1.4% from the same week last year.

Across the Industry

U.S. Travel Summer Summit: Last week, the U.S. Travel Association united travel leaders nationwide for its board meeting in Boston. Some key discussions included:

  • Competition worldwide is ramping up to compete for the tourism dollar. Multibillion investments are underway to create new experiences and destinations, such as in Saudi Arabia.
  • The future of destination marketing organizations using artificial intelligence (A.I.). For example, the trend of ChatGBT to build travel itineraries, produce content and assist with processes and systems.
  • And, there are continued needs within the travel industry across the U.S., including investment in airport infrastructure, marketing the U.S. as a welcoming destination, and ease of travel to and within the U.S.

These important points emphasize the need for Central Florida to be the best destination possible to compete for travelers from an infrastructure standpoint and when it comes to service.


Around the Destination

Leadership Meeting: We had the opportunity to meet with Congressman Maxwell Frost and his team this week. An advocate for the arts, we discussed how Visit Orlando promotes the entire destination and is working collaboratively with United Arts and other organizations to highlight all of our destination's offerings. We also shared the value of tourism marketing and the impact our industry has on the region. Thank you to Congressman Frost for meeting with us and his dedication to Orange County!

Orlando Economic Partnership Award: The Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives named Orlando Economic Partnership the 2023 Chamber of the Year! The national award recognizes their hard work through its many initiatives that utilize innovation, adaptability and community leadership. We are super proud of our partners for this achievement and for continuously impacting Central Florida’s economy positively. Please share this great news with your network. You can read more here.


Diversity Awards Luncheon: The LGBT+ Center Orlando hosted its 11th Annual Diversity Lunch & Awards that honors local champions, trailblazers and scholarship recipients. Visit Orlando’s senior public relations manager, Leo Salazar, attended, joining several community leaders and organizations, including Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings, City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, executive director at Come Out With Pride Tatiana Quiroga and other representatives.


Retirement Celebration: Congratulations to Carolyn Fennell, senior director of public affairs & community relations at Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, on her retirement. Carolyn has pioneered Central Florida’s travel and tourism industry, working alongside significant projects, including Orlando International Airport and its growth over the years. We celebrate her dedication, service and commitment to our community. Read more about Carolyn’s accomplishments in an Orlando Business Journal story.


Visit Orlando Engaged!

Florida Out Coast Convention: This week, Visit Orlando’s director of destination experience, Tommy Patterson, and public relations representative, Allisson Dos Santos, attended Florida’s first LGBTQ Tourism Convention, The Florida Out Coast Convention. During the three-day event general sessions, keynote speakers, performers and workshops provided insights on how destinations and businesses can become more inclusive towards the LGBTQ+ traveler, meeting planners and groups, and further supporting LGBTQ+ tourists and businesses.

Casandra Matej's photo and signature for Tourism Matters