As you might be aware, this week Mayor Jerry Demings reconvened the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, a group of more than 50 leaders across local government, the business community, nonprofits and the healthcare sector. As co-chair, I am honored to serve alongside Tim Giuliani, president and CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership. 

This week’s meeting yielded two main strategies to move us forward in the fight against COVID-19’s delta variant. 

First, we must stress the importance of vaccinations. Orange County’s 14-day rolling positivity rate is nearly 21% and more than 95% of all hospitalized COVID patients are unvaccinated. Orange County’s goal is to have 70% of residents age 12 and over receive the shot, but that number currently stands at 63.4%. As we strive for 70% as a community, several businesses, including Visit Orlando, are offering vaccination-related incentives for employees.   

Second, we must remain vigilant on health and safety standards. Already, we have seen incredible alignment across industries, as leaders redefine and reinforce best practices to conduct business in the healthiest ways possible. While tactics will vary, the goal is to promote common-sense protections and maintain our well-earned reputation as a safe destination.   

Read more about this week’s task force meeting, or watch the session in full here.


Insider Tips for Visit Orlando's 16th Annual Magical Dining

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining is only three weeks away, running Aug. 27-Oct. 3 at more than 80 of the area's top restaurants. To help you prepare, here are our top three tips: 

  1. Build a shortlist with our new “My Favorites” option on, then make your reservations in advance because tables often fill up fast.
  2. Review the menu options on our website before you arrive, so you can focus on the experience instead of stressing over which delicious options to pick in the moment.  
  3. Take your meal to the next level with exclusive hotel and resort offers through our Magical Nights promotion, which turns your enchanted evening into a relaxing escape beyond the restaurant.  

Find even more tips and information here


Congratulations, CEOs of the Year!

The Orlando Business Journal has published its CEOs of the Year. Congratulations to our members and tourism partners who made the list:

- Chris Jaskiewicz, ICON Park 
- Tanisha Nunn Gary, African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida 
- Kaleb Harrell, Hawkers Asian Street Food 
- Rick Pullum, One Florida Bank and Orange County Tourist Development Council

Thank you for contributing to our destination’s success! 


Visit Orlando Hosts Destination Orientation for Meeting Planners

This week we welcomed 11 associates from HelmsBriscoe, the global leader in meetings procurement and site selection, for a three-day, immersive FAM across our destination. This was an incredible opportunity to showcase Orlando's new and renovated meeting and convention hotels, world-class amenities and one-of-a-kind offerings. The group also gained experience with some of our behind-the-scenes tours, exceptional dining and other perks that draw attendees and make Orlando unbeatable as a meetings destination, including several discussions on how you can safely hold a meeting here. Thank you to our participating member partners!


Social Influencer Shows Off Winter Park

We recently partnered with influencer Nakiesa Lynn Faraji-Tajrishi to showcase “A Perfect Day in Winter Park.” Full of outdoor experiences like the Farmers Market, Scenic Boat Tour and beautiful garden spots, this video was the latest in our ongoing efforts to spotlight distinct neighborhoods across our destination.  


Please Mask Up for August Luncheon

To promote an environment of comfort and safety, Visit Orlando’s annual Business Insights Luncheon & Economic Forum will include mandatory masks and social distancing. 

We look forward to seeing you Aug. 27 at Hilton Orlando for:

  • The latest economic forecasts
  • Opportunities to connect with colleagues and Visit Orlando team members
  • The unveiling of our destination’s three-year strategic plan and
  • The kickoff of Visit Orlando’s 16th annual Magical Dining program. 

Reserve your spot today. 


Weekly Hotel Occupancy Remains Above 70%

For the week ending July 31, Metro Orlando hotel occupancy fell 5.7% to 73.4%; however, it remains very close to the same period in 2019. Average daily rate (ADR) fell $7.70 to $127.75. 

Florida’s hotel occupancy was slightly higher at 74.8%, while the nation was 70.1%. Hotel rates, on the other hand, demonstrate what an affordable destination we are compared to the state and country: Florida’s ADR last week was $169.09, while the national rate was $142.76. 


Across the Industry

U.S. News & World Report: Four Seasons Resort Orlando among best hotels in the USA
Travel Weekly: At ALIS, a consensus that true recovery is going to take time 
Travel Age West: Study: How the delta variant is impacting traveler confidence
Orlando Sentinel: For Orlando’s entertainment industry, $57 million in relief 
Prevue Meetings: Weekly U.S hotel occupancy at highest level since 2019 
Orlando Sentinel: AdventHealth purchases Holy Land Experience in $32 million sale
TravelPulse: Americans are increasingly making up for lost vacation time   
Attractions Magazine: Pricing, sample itinerary revealed for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser 

Reuters: U.S. developing plan to require foreign visitors to be vaccinated, official says


Casandra Matej

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