I hope you and your loved ones remained safe this week during Hurricane Idalia.

Thankfully, with the path of the storm primarily on the West Coast of the state, we felt minimal impact here in Orlando.

Our region is privileged to have an extraordinary network of major public and private entities working together to prepare for hurricanes.

Visit Orlando works closely with Orange County Emergency Management before, during and after storms to monitor hotel occupancy and assess the destination. We share important updates and news through Visit Orlando’s website and social media channels and respond to questions and inquiries regarding business statuses through our Visitors Services team via phone and live chat.

This past week not only did most theme parks and attractions remain open, but many accommodation partners also offered special rates for Florida residents and first responders needing to evacuate our coastal regions.

We are here to help serve as a resource now and in the future should another storm impact our state.

Remember, you can never be too prepared for the next weather event. The 2023 Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax holiday runs now through Friday, Sept. 8, for qualifying items related to disaster preparedness. Orange County Government’s Hurricane Safety Guide is another helpful resource for detailed information about storm season preparation.

If any of your businesses were impacted by Hurricane Idalia, please consider completing this FloridaCommerce Business Damage Assessment Survey. The data collected will assist in informing the efforts of state, federal, local and regional partners in helping the impacted businesses recover.

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Tourism Matters Newsletter (visitorlando.com)

Rodizio Grill

Support The Lifeboat Project through Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining

Through Oct. 1, residents and travelers can explore more than 130 restaurants, including nine MICHELIN Guide restaurants and 22 first-time participants serving three-course, prix-fixe menus through Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining. We encourage everyone to make dinner reservations through the website and plan staycations by taking advantage of great savings at our destination’s amenity-filled hotels and resorts through Visit Orlando’s Magical Nights. As a reminder, one dollar from each $40 menu and two dollars from each $60 menu will benefit The Lifeboat Project and six local nonprofits in Orange County’s six commission districts that provide services and resources to survivors of abuse in Central Florida.

Two friends shopping at Shops in ICON Park

Orlando A Popular Tourist Location for Labor Day Travel

In advance of Labor Day, AAA ranked Orlando among the top five U.S. destinations for Labor Day travel. According to their research, Labor Day weekend travel bookings for flights, hotels, rental cars and cruises are up 4% domestic and 44% international compared to last year. As the last holiday before the summer ends, we look forward to welcoming travelers to Orlando. This weekend, visitors can tailgate and watch the kickoff Florida State Seminoles vs. LSU Tigers football game at Camping World Stadium, enjoy destination activities, such as shopping, fall events and festivals, or try various dinner selections through Visit Orlando's Magical Dining.

Apply for Visit Orlando's 2024 Board of Directors

The nomination process for Visit Orlando’s 2024 Board of Directors is now available. Ideal candidates should showcase a commitment to all duties and responsibilities that align with Visit Orlando’s strategic goals and initiatives. Applicants should also be dedicated to helping Visit Orlando sustain its mission of being the most visited, welcoming and inclusive travel destination in the world. If this opportunity resonates with your goals and you work in the hospitality, travel and tourism industries, Visit Orlando’s leadership team and current board extends the invitation for you to consider applying. Applications are open now until 5 p.m. on Friday, Sep. 29.

Hotel Metrics

Metro Orlando occupancy for the week ending Aug. 26 was 60.8%, up from last week but down 5.7% from the same week last year. The Average Daily Rate for the week was $160.70, essentially flat from the same week last year.

Across the Industry

Free Networking Opportunity: AdventureConnect Orlando, a free networking event hosted by VISIT FLORIDA and the Adventure Travel Trade Association, will take place on Sept. 6 at Rosen Shingle Creek. Register here to learn about the Florida Adventure Travel Network, connect with industry leaders and learn best practices.

Around the Destination


OBJ C-Suite Awards: Congratulations to Kevin Thibault, CEO of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and Visit Orlando board member, for receiving Orlando Business Journal’s 2023 C-Suite Awards. The award celebrates the region's top leaders and outstanding performers in their areas of expertise, as well as their contributions and commitment to their professions in the local community.


13th Annual Ashoka Awards Gala: Visit Orlando attended the Indian America Chamber of Commerce’s (IACC) Ashoka Awards Gala at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center. The event celebrated the incredible achievements and contributions of Indian American entrepreneurs, professionals and local leaders who have positively impacted the community. The gala showcased inspiring stories and insights from award recipients. Traditional and contemporary Indian dance performances, live music and Indian cuisine were also major highlights of this event.


Grand Opening of Orlando Health Orthopedic: This week, Orlando Health—The Official Health and Wellness Partner of Visit Orlando—debuted its brand-new Jewett Orthopedic Institute Hospital at the main Orlando Health campus south of downtown Orlando. Visit Orlando’s Chief Marketing Officer Danielle Hollander joined Orlando Health executives, physicians, staff and community leaders to kick off this new chapter. The hospital is the first fully dedicated orthopedic hospital in Florida, with 75 smart inpatient rooms, 10 state-of-the-art operating rooms, a bio skills lab and more. Learn more here.

Visit Orlando Engaged!


Tour of New Orlando Resort: Visit Orlando's travel industry sales team took a sneak peek hard hat tour of the brand new Evermore Orlando Resort. This exciting 10,000-room addition to our destination’s resort portfolio will open later this year and features the spectacular Evermore Bay—an eight-acre lagoon with Orlando's only sandy beach.


Brightline: Visit Orlando’s destination experience and membership team met with a Brightline representative to learn more about the new high-speed rail service. There were also discussions about transportation opportunities that can be developed for business and meetings groups. We are so excited to welcome this brand-new travel service to our destination!

Casandra Matej's photo and signature for Tourism Matters