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View original poem commemorating meetings 

Debuts New Original Poem by Poet Laureate Commemorating Impact of 
Meetings and Events in Orange County 

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 10, 2024) – Orlando, continually ranked as the top meetings destination in the country by Cvent, will join the annual worldwide recognition of Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID), April 11, and champion the benefits and impact of professional meetings and events held in the destination. 

Fueled by the U.S. Travel Association’s (USTA) Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC), GMID spotlights the proven value that business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions bring to businesses, workers and the economy.   

“When groups meet in Orlando, they not only support our local businesses, vendors and hospitality workers, but they also make an indelible impact on our community through charitable donations and endeavors,” said Casandra Matej, president and CEO, Visit Orlando. “Celebrating Global Meetings Industry Day is a great opportunity to recognize these efforts and their positive effect on Orlando.” 

Orlando meetings and conventions, which include city-wide and in-house events, were booked by the Visit Orlando convention sales team in 2023 and beyond, resulting in an approximately $4 billion impact on the local economy. Beyond supporting local businesses and employing thousands, meetings bring considerable recognition and benefit to supporting the Orange County community. For example, events at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) alone, over the past year contributed:  

  • $1 million in donated home improvement products.  

  • 40,000 pounds of repurposed materials to build homes. 

  • 32,000 pounds of food donated to those in need. 

  • $114,000 in educational scholarships. 

  • $60,000 in bicycle donations for foster kids.  

“As we celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day, I want to highlight the significance conventions, trade shows and meetings have not only on our economy, but in our communities as well,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “Events at the Orange County Convention Center provide substantial economic impact, while also allowing opportunities for social giving and charitable donations to those in need. We are excited to commemorate GMID and showcase the impact face-to-face events have on our local community, across the nation and around the world.”  

This fiscal year, from October 2023 to September 2024, the OCCC will welcome 1.7 million attendees across 184 events, generating $2.96 billion in economic impact.  

The OCCC has much to celebrate this year with the recent approval of Phase 5A of its expansion. The project consists of the Convention Way Grand Concourse, which will include an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space and an 80,000-square-foot ballroom, along with a new entry to the Center’s North-South Building along Convention Way.  

To commemorate GMID, the Orlando community, joined by Visit Orlando, Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) and destination partners, will celebrate the impact of meetings and events with the following initiatives:  

  • Visit Orlando, in collaboration with Orlando’s Poet Laureate, Shawn Welcome, composed a poem on the tremendous value of in-person meetings and the positive impact meetings have on our community, local businesses, and economy. ​ 

  • Orlando destination partners are participating in a #OrlandoMeeting social media campaign celebrating the importance of meetings and events.  

  • Visit Orlando’s vice president of sales and services, Stephanie Naegele, will participate in a GMID speaking engagement with the Greater Orlando Chapter of Meeting Planners International. 

Orlando continues to embrace new and returning meeting, convention and incentive groups in 2024 with new or expanded accommodations, venues and experiences. New luxury accommodations have opened, including Evermore Orlando Resort, a beach-like resort with an 8-acre crystal lagoon, and the Conrad Orlando, Orlando’s first Hilton luxury hotel, bringing the destination to nearly 500 hotel and resort options for meeting groups.  

Orlando will also welcome new concepts from Michelin-recognized Food Network chefs and Top Chef celebrities alongside champagne bars, sober speakeasies, omakases and arcade bars. For venues that inspire, tucked inside downtown Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, planners will find  Judson’s Live, a new intimate, 150-seat, cabaret-style music space with unparalleled sound and a scratch-kitchen menu. 

For more information on meetings and events in Orlando, go to and Orange County Convention Center’s official website.  


About Visit Orlando    

Visit Orlando is The Official Tourism Association® for Orlando, the most visited destination in the United States, Theme Park Capital of the World® and No. 1 meeting destination in the country. A not-for-profit trade association that brands, markets and sells the Orlando destination globally, we represent more than 1,500 member companies comprising every segment of Central Florida’s tourism community. 

Visit Orlando connects consumers and business groups with all facets of Orlando’s travel community, whether for a vacation or meeting. Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks — as well as refreshing water parks, nature and outdoor adventures, vibrant neighborhoods, a dynamic dining scene with Michelin-recognized restaurants, and a robust calendar of entertainment and sports events — Orlando is a diverse, welcoming and inclusive community for all travelers. Find more information at, or