Florida Voters to Take the Polls

Florida Vote

Less than two weeks from now, Florida voters will take to the polls to exercise their constitutional rights. The election ballot will include Amendment 2, officially titled Florida's Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative. If approved, this measure would legalize medical marijuana.

As you know, Visit Orlando is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing all segments of our Central Florida industry. As the community's official tourism association, we believe our role is to communicate pending issues that may impact our industry to our 1,200 member companies and those that follow us. Although it's not our role to recommend a position to you on matters such as this one, we strongly recommend that you study the details of this complex amendment since the provisions as stated may have unintended consequences that could pose a risk to our destination's valued family brand.


Meetings Industry Looking as Strong as Ever

 IMEX America 2014

Orlando came out swinging this week at IMEX America, the meetings and convention industry's largest and most important trade show. More than 2,600 meeting professionals from 40 global markets used IMEX's unique appointment system to preschedule appointments with exhibitors from the top international and domestic destinations. Among the key leading destinations that exhibited was our very own Visit Orlando Sales team, which joined George Aguel in meeting with upwards of 300 potential clients! The agenda of client activities was constant throughout all the days of the show and we had many members that joined us, representing all that we have to offer.

A friend of many years, IMEX Group chairman Ray Bloom, said that the show floor expanded by 13 percent this year over 2013 and he expects the number of buyers to be up from last year, a very positive sign for the meetings industry.

Best of all, many of the meeting professionals we spoke with - some of whom had been to Orlando in the past - were amazed by the significant expansions that have taken place across our destination in the form of new attractions, hotels and restaurants, as well as what's to come. It was clear from our conversations that they felt Visit Orlando and our member companies offer strong reasons to bring their groups back to Orlando - and entice those who have never met in Orlando before to choose us for their next event.


Ebola Update from U.S. Travel Association

 U.S. Travel Association

Visit Orlando and the U.S. Travel Association are closely tracking the developments and any potential impact the Ebola Virus would have on travel to the U.S. We want to ensure that you, our members, are educated on what is happening from a travel perspective.

Several new initiatives have begun that affect the travel industry. This week, the Center for Disease Control and the Department of Homeland Security announced additional screening procedures for five airports that receive approximately 95% of travelers from the affected West African countries. They include: New York - JFK, Washington - Dulles, Newark, Chicago - O'Hare, and Atlanta. No travel ban has been implemented to or from the affected countries.

The U.S. Travel Association has gathered several collateral pieces that answer many of questions on the virus that you can share with your employees. These include industry message points and other useful resources gathered from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies. For more information visit U.S. Travel Association's Ebola Response Page.

We hope that this information will be helpful in case you receive any inquiries from guests or employees on this topic.


Another Benefit That Tourism Supports is About to Take The Stage

Dr. Phillips Rendering


 The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is scheduled to open a month from now with a "Grand Premiere" schedule of free and ticketed events that will form a community celebration reflective of the venue's vision of "Arts for Every Life."

Thanks to a public-private collaboration with the City of Orlando, Orange County, the State of Florida and generous donors, Orlando will soon be home to this state-of-the-art performing arts center. It's being described as a place where artists, audiences and students will come to experience, explore and learn. And it will feature the 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater, 300-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, Seneff Arts Plaza, School of Arts, the DeVos Family Room and other event rental spaces.

This milestone for our community is a great example of one of the many ways that tourism plays a part in giving back to our local residents. In addition to sales taxes paid by visitors, which helps fund important local services, our tourism industry generates an enormous amount of tourist tax collections each year that enhances our quality of life in Orlando. Thanks in large part to tourism, our local residents can enjoy world-class facilities like the Amway Center, the soon-to-open Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, renovated Orlando Citrus Bowl and future MLS soccer stadium.


Job Shadow Offers Insight Into Industry

2014 Rosen Job Shadow


With an industry employing more than 380,000 people directly and indirectly, it is important to help inspire and shape the future leaders of Orlando's tourism community. What better time than World Tourism Day. Last week more than 75 students from the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management shadowed industry professionals to learn more about the variety of career opportunities available right in our own backyard.

Students participated in a full day of educational, hands-on experiences, paired with the employer that best suited thier career interests. From theme park management to lodging operations and event planning to convention sales, the program opens student's eyes and provides a realistic 'day in the life.' National activities surrounding World Tourism Day started in 1980 and are coordinated by The World Tourism Organization. 


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