Expanded Turnpike Presence Puts Orlando in the Driver's Seat

 Florida Turnpike Partnership

Each year more than 20 million travelers who travel Florida's most popular tourist motorway stop at a Florida Turnpike Service Plaza. While they may come for snacks, meals and quick pit stops, what they will also find are Visit Orlando informational booths and interactive kiosks in seven of the eight Turnpike service plazas. Beginning this week, the travel plazas, on what has long been considered the main vehicular artery from north to south Florida, will feature direct access to destination information, visitor services and products.

Motorists who drive one of our state's most traveled highways will now be met with a variety of user-friendly services that will create top-of-mind awareness for Orlando and provide convenient access to accommodation, attraction and other products to Orlando's many popular tourism sites. These services will include friendly and knowledgeable destination experts in the Fort Drum, West Palm and Fort Pierce plazas, as well as interactive, self-serve kiosks at the Okahumpka, Turkey Lake, Canoe Creek and Pompano plazas.
The touch-screen kiosks will digitally connect travelers to accommodations, attraction deals and destination information they are looking for to enhance their Central Florida experience - serving as a virtual concierge for all they need and want to know. In addition, TV monitors located throughout the plazas will provide additional up-to-date highlights and visitor information.

These information booths and kiosks will allow Visit Orlando to connect more closely with travelers in a convenient, informative and interactive way. And because of the popularity of the Florida Turnpike, the destination will be able to reach those within our own backyard and those beyond Orlando as well.



Orlando Air Traffic Soars

 Orlando International Airport

Orlando International Airport welcomed a record number of domestic and international passengers in 2015 - resulting in air traffic topping out at nearly 39 million guests last year alone. The banner year positions the airport even closer to the construction of a $1.8 billion southern terminal building which will allow the destination to host an even greater number of future leisure, business and convention travelers.

The airport welcomed nearly 17 percent more international passengers in 2015, totaling more than 5 million for the first time ever. Domestic passenger traffic also set a record in 2015, growing 7 percent over 2014 to more than 33.7 million.

The good news is this sky-rocketing growth doesn't appear to be slowing at all with projected domestic seats for 2016 anticipated to increase by 9.6 percent and international seats by 8.2 percent. Based on current airline schedules the total number of direct, non-stop seats to OIA is expected to grow by 9.4 percent this year.

The additional capacity currently scheduled for 2016 can be seen as a vote of confidence by the airlines in the destination. Measured in number of additional seats, the largest increases are expected from the United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and Mexico. The largest percent change over 2015 is in seats from United Arab Emirates, which are scheduled to increase 191 percent over 2015's capacity thanks to new air service from Dubai on Emirates Airlines that began last fall.

All in all, Orlando just posted its best-ever air travel stats and we are delighted to see 2016 taking off in much the same way.



Occupancy Soars in New Year

Occupancy Soars in New Year 

In the last week of January, occupancy rates in Orlando were up nearly 18 percent over 2015, and the jump in demand was almost just as high. By comparison, Orlando outpaced U.S weekly growth by more than 15 percent, and Florida's by 12.5 percent. Not only does this growth translate into higher-than-average visitation, it also represents a significant boost to our economy with average daily hotel rates almost 15 percent above what the destination recorded last year.

However, not all who visited Orlando were here on leisure travel. The PGA and the International Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigerating expos at the Orange County Convention Center recently helped to sky rocket I-Drive occupancies to 25 percent beyond where they were this time last year. This surge in non-summer or holiday occupancy is good news-and just what we need to ensure we see growth in visitation.


Tourism Jobs Continue to Thrive

 Tourism Jobs Continue to Thrive

As we move into the new year, Orlando's job growth continues to soar thanks to a strong economy in 2015 and a healthy expansion in the leisure and hospitality industry. Jobs in our tourism-related sectors have surged-accounting for a third of the growth in total employment the destination has experienced. That translates into greater job security and more opportunities for the future.

All this comes as no surprise since tourism has always been a substantial drive in our destination's economic engine and a major resource for career-seekers. Not only are jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry up 5.3 percent over last year, tourism jobs are also growing at a faster rate than other industries in Orlando.

All of this is cause for optimism as we consider the growth potential for 2016. In short, Orlando continues to be a destination on the rise with opportunities for success for so many in our community.


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