Orlando Welcomes Chinese Travel Professionals

Visit Orlando welcomed a group of Chinese tour operators and travel agents for an educational tour of Orlando May 6-10. The tour was organized in conjunction with VISIT FLORIDA and Delta Air Lines, and included participants from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. During their stay in the area, the group enjoyed escorted tours of Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando, as well as shopping excursions to The Florida Mall, The Mall at Millenia and Orlando Premium Outlets - International Dr.

Visit Orlando began representation in Shanghai, China, in 2009 in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA. As the market continues to grow in the United States, Visit Orlando is working to educate Chinese travel professionals on packaging the Orlando product.


Gary Sain to be Inducted Posthumously into the Central Florida Hospitality Hall of Fame

Gary SainThe Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida will pay tribute to its late friend and colleague, Gary C. Sain, by honoring the former Visit Orlando president & CEO with a special memorial induction into its Central Florida Hospitality Hall of Fame later this year. The Hall of Fame, established in 2007 by UCF's Rosen College, annually honors outstanding community leaders for their service and commitment to the local hospitality industry.

The 61-year-old tourism leader, who tragically passed away from a heart attack on May 4, will be inducted posthumously into the Central Florida Hospitality Hall of Fame during the College's 2012 Grand Tour Gala, held on Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando.

"Gary was a beloved father and husband, a talented industry professional and a leader in the community," said Dr. Abraham Pizam, Dean of UCF's Rosen College of Hospitality Management. "But he was also an educator at heart. Gary happily lent his expertise to the College as a member of our Advisory Board, and would frequently serve as a guest lecturer to our students. For all that he has done and accomplished for our community, Gary's legacy deserves to live on through the Central Florida Hospitality Hall of Fame."

The Central Florida Hospitality Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Grand Tour Gala will include a special presentation, highlighting the life and accomplishments of Gary C. Sain. Dean Pizam will also present Sain's wife, Pamela, with a Steuben crystal pineapple award, the symbol of the hospitality industry. Sain will also be pictured with a plaque on the Hall of Fame, located on the UCF's Rosen College campus.

Sain will be inducted at this year's ceremony, along with the Peabody Orlando's Alan C. Villaverde, Panera Bread Pioneer Albert Covelli, Walt Disney Company's Al Weiss, and Thomas L. Williams of Universal Parks & Resorts. Prior inductees include Carolyn Fennell, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, and Mark McHugh, Gatorland, (2010); Jim D. Atchison, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, and Harris Rosen, Rosen Hotels & Resorts (2009); Patricia J. Engfer, Hyatt Orlando, and Richard A. Nunis, Walt Disney Attractions (2008); and Richard J. Walsh, Darden Restaurants, and William C. Peeper, Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau (2007).


Gary Sain Services

Gary C. Sain, 1950-2012

Gary Sain seated

Gary C. Sain started with Visit Orlando in February 2007 as the leader of the organization that markets and sells the Orlando area as the No. 1 family leisure destination in the world, and one of the top meetings and convention destinations in America. He is credited with Orlando reaching a record of 51.5 million visitors in 2010, the first U.S. destination to surpass the 50 million visitor milestone.

As a leading figure in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry, Sain frequently touted the benefits of travel as well as the industry's importance to the economy as a vehicle for economic development and prosperity. Known in the industry as a marketing and branding expert, Sain leveraged these strengths while at Visit Orlando to develop several leisure advertising programs for the destination. These initiatives include the Orlando Makes Me Smile branding, the 2nd Summer and Be the First leisure marketing campaigns, as well as the Inspiration and Influencer campaigns for the business travel market.

For the Visit Orlando team, Gary looked to inspire his colleagues to be the best and provide the utmost in customer service to their clients. Always full of new ideas and challenges, Gary also took a personal interest in his employees, not as a boss, but as a leader looking to inspire them professionally and personally. Through his guidance, Visit Orlando created employee-wellness programs, diversity initiatives and culture-building projects. He will truly be missed by all that worked by his side.

Service and Arrangements - Open to the Public

Visitation will take place from 3-7 p.m. on Friday, May 11, at Baldwin Fairchild Funeral Home, 301 N.E. Ivanhoe Blvd., Orlando, FL 32804; 407-898-8111.

Additional visitation will take place at 10 a.m., immediately prior to the Celebration of Life and Funeral Service set for 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 12, at Northland, A Church Distributed, located at 530 Dog Track Road, Longwood, FL 32759; 407-949-4000.

For those unable to attend, the Celebration of Life service will be webcast beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 12 via Northland, A Church Distributed. To access the webcast, reference the "What's Current" section on their homepage. 

Immediately following the service, burial will take place at The Palm Cemetery located at 1005 South New York Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789; 407-599-3252.

Scholarships Set Up 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts be made in Gary's honor to one of two funds. For the Gary C. Sain Memorial Endowed Scholarship for the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management, instructions are as follows: 

• Gifts using credit cards: Please go to the UCF Foundation Rosen College of Hospitality Management donation website. In the first section, "Donation Information," input the amount of the gift and then in same section under "Designation," please choose the "Gary C. Sain Memorial Endowed Scholarship" in the drop down menu. Please complete the rest of the form and click "Donate Now."

• Checks: Please make checks payable to The UCF Foundation, write Gary C. Sain Memorial Endowed Scholarship on the memo line, and mail to:

UCF Foundation
12424 Research Parkway, Suite 140
Orlando, FL 32826

For wire transfers, stock, and mutual fund gifts, please contact Lori Cosmides at LCosmides@ucf.edu or 407-903-8249.

The Destination & Travel Foundation also has established a memorial fund in the name of Gary C. Sain to honor his leadership and legacy in the destination marketing industry. Donations can be mailed to:

Destination & Travel Foundation
2025 M St. NW Ste. 500
Washington, DC 20036

You can also donate online at destinationtravel.org.

Accomodations for Those Traveling to Orlando 

For those traveling to Orlando for Gary's services, the Rosen Shingle Creek is extending a special Friends & Family rate of $89 per night. Call 407-996-9939 and ask for reservations, or call reservations directly at 866-996-6338, ask for Rosen Shingle Creek, and identify the guestroom block for the Sain Family Memorial


Gary Sain: In His Own Words

With the passing of Visit Orlando President & CEO Gary Sain, We thought it appropriate to post an article that was published in Orlando Magazine in 2008 in which Gary shares his personal life story.

 Gary Sain: In Their Own Words article  (3.23MB)



In Memory of Visit Orlando President & CEO Gary Sain

Gary Sain

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I have sad news to share with you. Friday evening, Gary Sain, president & CEO of Visit Orlando, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. Gary was a loving son, husband and father. Our thoughts go out to the people he most cherished -- wife Pamela; daughter Vanessa Sain-Dieguez; son-in-law Luis Dieguez; daughter Olivia Sain; mother Bette Sain; brothers Todd Sain (Vicky) and Chad Sain; uncle Ken Sain (Sharon); and nephews Brian, Eric, Nicolas and Brett.

As the leader of Visit Orlando, Gary served as our community's brand ambassador working tirelessly on behalf of Orlando and the entire travel and tourism industry. He spent his entire career working in hospitality and was honored numerous times for his contributions. The Visit Orlando team, our destination partners and our community have lost a wonderful leader and friend. He will truly be missed by all that knew him.

The family has asked for privacy as they go through this very difficult time. Additional information will be shared as it becomes available.

- Paul Tang, Chairman, Visit Orlando Board of Directors



Vote Travel Bus Visits Orlando for Travel Rally Day

Travel Rally Day Bus Group shot 

More than 100 industry employees participated in Travel Rally Day on May 1 at Pointe Orlando with the Vote Travel Bus providing the backdrop. U.S. Travel Association President Roger Dow, Visit Orlando President and CEO Gary Sain, CFHLA President Rich Maladecki and State Representative Mike Horner spoke about the benefits of Travel & Tourism and encouraged the crowd to get involved with their local, state and federal elected officials and educate them on the benefits of a thriving Travel & Tourism Industry. In Orlando, nearly 380,000 residents are employed in the industry earning $13.4 billion in wages. Orlando's Travel & Tourism Industry has led the way in job creation in over the past 18 months and the total number of visitors in 2011 is expected to top 54 million when numbers are released later this month.


Travel Rally Day Sign picture 

The Travel Rally Bus has made stops in cities like Las Vegas, New York, Miami and New Orleans as it crisscrosses the country espousing the many benefits of travel to residents, the industry and elected officials. To learn more about how you can get involved in the process go to poweroftravel.org or text "travel" to 877877


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