The Big Business of Meeting

This week 43,000 golf enthusiasts will arrive in Orlando to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the PGA. The organization's annual convention, which has long been hosted in Orlando, is the first of many slated for the destination in 2016. In fact, together with the International Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigerating Expo, next week's attendees are estimated to be more than 100,000 - making this one of the best New Year's starts in recent history.

Recognized as the number one destination for meetings and events in the United States and second for major trade shows, Orlando is positioned to welcome a banner number of conventions in 2016. Some of the shows for the upcoming year include the National Association of Realtors, Microsoft and McDonald's Corporation. Citywide attendance from major conventions is already up 6 percent year over year, and business booked by Visit Orlando for future years has also increased by the same amount.

As we know, conventions equal big business for Orlando, but did you also know that face-to-face meetings result in long-term profit for corporations as well? In fact, nine out of 10 executives say meetings improve their ability to close deals and 97 percent claim they deliver a hefty return on the investment, which is why business leaders are making in-person conventions, trade shows and client events a financial priority for 2016.

The surge in convention and trade show business means more jobs, heightened exposure and nearly $7 billion in economic impact to our community. That's good news for those of us in the tourism industry and all who call Orlando home.


Orlando Named Destination to Watch for 2016

Expedia Names Orlando Destination to WatchEarly this week Expedia named Orlando the "Destination to Watch for 2016." This high praise from the leading online travel company comes as a result of an expansion in leisure services and activities. Long known for theme parks, Orlando is now also being looked at by travel-makers, like Expedia, as a "legitimate foodie destination, a city with actual luxury hotels and a year-round destination where families can have genuine fun..."

As we enter 2016, we are excited the travel industry is once again recognizing what we've long known: Orlando is a world-class destination with a wide variety of experiences and countless reasons to visit again and again.

Orlando's meteoric rise on the culinary scene comes on the heels of three consecutive years of garnering the most nominations of any Florida destination for the prestigious James Beard Foundation's Restaurant and Chef Award. In fact, five of our area chefs were recognized as semifinalists in the "Best Chefs in the South" category for 2015. Orlando was also named among the "10 Best Wine Travel Destinations for 2015" by Wine Enthusiast and The New York Times cited the destination's "surprising food scene" when it listed us as one of the "Top 52 Places to Visit in 2015."

Luxury hotels with expanded offerings for couples were another reason for the nod from the online travel giant. Coupled with the emergence of new attractions beyond our famous theme parks, the destination is poised to offer a greater variety of experiences than ever before. In fact, attractions like The Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, Pointe Orlando and the Orlando Eye were given as examples of why Expedia claims Orlando is "worth a closer look."


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