Gary Sain inducted into U.S. Travel Association Hall of Leaders


 Pam and Vanessa Hall of Leaders picture

Former Visit Orlando President & CEO Gary Sain was posthumously inducted into the U.S. Travel Association's Hall of Leaders on November 29. Sain passed away May of 2012. The Hall of Leaders was established in 1969 as part of U.S. Travel's National Awards Program to recognize individual contributions to the travel and tourism industry.

Induction to the U.S. Travel Hall of Leaders is the single highest and most revered honor an individual in the travel and tourism industry can receive. Inductees into the Hall of Leaders are "individuals who have made sustained, noteworthy contributions that have had a positive impact on the broad travel and tourism industry." Visit Orlando COO/CFO Larry Henrichs and Visit Orlando Chairman Paul Tang attended the event along with Gary's wife Pam and their daughter Vanessa.


Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month Raises $67,714 for Charity


Edgewood Magical Dining 2012

Visit Orlando presented a check for $67,714 to the Edgewood Children's Ranch at the organization's Country Round-Up Dinner & Auction. The proceeds were raised through the annual Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month program that each September, offers locals and visitors an opportunity to enjoy Orlando's culinary experience through three-course prix-fixe dinners for $30.

Magical Dining Month has grown to be an anxiously awaited and celebrated annual event, showcasing Central Florida's ever-expanding dining universe while helping raise awareness for a worthy charitable organization in the local community. More than 70 of Orlando's best restaurants offered memorable meals and big savings this year. One dollar of every meal served was donated to Edgewood Children's Ranch, which provides residential, educational and counseling services for troubled children, ages 6-17, and their families.


Orlando Travel & Tourism Makes Me Smile Bowl-A-Thon A Success


 Junior Achievement Bowl-A-Thon

On Thursday, Nov. 1, Visit Orlando partnered with Junior Achievement of Central Florida to host the inaugural Orlando Travel & Tourism Makes Me Smile Bowl-A-Thon at World Bowling Center near International Drive. Bowl-A-Thons are one of the largest fundraising events planned by Junior Achievement.

The event had 75 participants and raised more than $6,500 for Junior Achievement. Proceeds will support the hospitality industry module that uses practical, hands-on activities to show students how the industry operates and what careers are available. Junior Achievement has impacted more than 78,000 students in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Volusia and Lake Counties through in-classroom interaction in elementary, middle and high schools.

Visit Orlando thanks everyone who participated in the Orlando Travel & Tourism Makes Me Smile Bowl-A-Thon for Junior Achievement, or supported those that did. In May 2013, Visit Orlando will be hosting its second Orlando Travel & Tourism Makes Me Smile Bowl-A-Thon as part of the National Travel and Tourism Week activities.


Google Talks Travel During ‘Hot Topics!’ Session

Hot Topics: Google
On Friday, November 2, Visit Orlando presented the Hot Topics! Educational Session: Google at the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management. Shaun Aukland, a destination marketing manager at Google Travel, led the discussion that touched on a variety of topics related to online travel planning and booking. Among the points Aukland noted was the "zero moment of truth," a newly discovered step within the traditional marketing model where consumers conduct research, read reviews and comparison shop. This stage is especially relevant to the travel segment since it is largely played out online, where destinations, hotels and attractions can influence the process. Aukland also discussed some of the limitations of social-media marketing, stating that online recommendations lack staying power, and it's difficult to reactivate your company's social connections once they have gone dormant.


Gary Sain Café dedicated at Orange County Convention Center


Pam Teresa Plaque

Recently, the Orange County Convention Center along with Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs honored former Visit Orlando President/CEO Gary Sain by renaming a prominent meeting space at the Center. The Osprey Café now proudly bares the Gary Sain Café moniker. Sain passed away in June from a heart attack. More than 75 close industry colleagues, friends and family attended the dedication ceremony. Also announced was a dramatic redesign of the Café which is located on the second floor of the West building of the Convention Center.

Sain led Visit Orlando from 2007 to 2012 during which time the destination became the first city to break the 50 million visitor mark. In 2011, Orlando again broke a record with 55 million visitors. Sain was staunch advocate for securing more meetings and conventions for Orlando, as well as increasing leisure travel - both domestically and internationally.


Gary Sain Cafe Moniker


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