Hogan and Leonard Honored by CFHLA

2017 Charles Andrews Memorial Hospitality Award

Congratulations to Steve Hogan, CEO of Florida Citrus Sports, for receiving the 2017 Charles Andrews Memorial Hospitality Award for Community Leadership. The award is the highest honor given by the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association (CFHLA). In addition, a special congratulations to Visit Orlando board member Jay Leonard, general manager of the Wyndham and Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs Resort Area, for winning the 2017 Lodging Member of the Year. The awards were presented Dec. 16 at CFHLA's annual Hospitality Gala at the Hyatt Regency Orlando.

2017 Lodging Member of Year 


Mills Finalist for Central Floridian of Year

Harold Mills

Congratulations to Harold Mills, member of Visit Orlando's Board of Directors, for being selected as a finalist for the Orlando Sentinel's 2018 Central Floridian of the year. Mills was chosen because of his work in academic, civic and charitable organizations, including LIFT Orlando. Mills also serves as the Vice Chairman of the Board for ZeroChaos, a workforce management solutions company founded by Mills.


Honey Nougat Glacé is Orlando’s New Signature Dish -- Congrats to Chef Delrieu, Mon Petit Cheri Cafe

Signature Dish 

Congratulations to Chef Catherine Delrieu of Mon Petit Cheri Café for winning the Orlando Signature Dish culinary competition. Earlier this year, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs challenged the area's culinary community to create a honey-based dessert that would reflect the history and personality of Orlando. Dozens of delicious entries were received, and an expert panel of celebrity chefs chose the winner after public voting narrowed the field to 10 finalists. The honey nougat glace features Italian meringue prepared with honey, nougat and fruit confit, on a red berries sorbet.

Chef Catherine Delrieu 



Magical Dining Month Raises a Record $208,620 for Charity

Magical Dining Raises a Record for Charity 

Visit Orlando's 12th annual Magical Dining Month raised a record $208,620 for two local charities: Freedom Ride Inc. and BASE Camp Children's Foundation. From Aug. 25 to Oct. 12, guests enjoyed Magical Dining dinners at a record 118 restaurants across Central Florida, and one dollar from each meal was donated to charity. Freedom Ride provides therapeutic horseback riding to people of all ages coping with physical, emotional and learning disabilities. BASE Camp works to ease the stress of children and their families suffering from cancer and other life-threatening hematological illnesses. See the charities in action here.


Orlando’s Tourism Industry Seeing Widespread Growth

Annual Meeting 2017 

Our destination has experienced year-to-date growth across most of the important metrics that we track, including hotel demand, occupancy, average daily rate and revenue per available room. We're outpacing state and national growth averages in these areas - and among the country's top 25 hotel markets, we've posted the fastest RevPAR growth and are tied for the fastest growth in occupancy. In addition, 2017 has seen record traffic at Orlando International Airport and record attendance at the Orange County Convention Center.

As a destination, we are well-poised for a strong finish to the year. Adding to some recent accolades we've won - such as "Best Winter Family Vacation" (US News & World Report) and "Top Warm-Weather Winter Destination" (Wallet Hub) - advance bookings for Dec. 25 to Jan. 1 are 20% ahead of this time last year. That news, coupled with Jan. 1 falling on a Monday, means Orlando can expect a very busy weekend to ring in the New Year.


Aguel Presents Award to John Arie Sr.

Business Award

Last week, Visit Orlando CEO George Aguel presented Fun Spot founder John Arie Sr. with the 2017 i4 Business Leader of the Year Award in the category of tourism. The awards ceremony, sponsored by i4 Business magazine, took place at the Country Club of Orlando.

A highly respected figure in the family entertainment center industry, Arie is someone whose leadership and vision continue to add value to our destination. Over the years, his strategic planning and aggressive brand of entrepreneurship have yielded tremendous results - for Fun Spot and Orlando as a whole.

In the December edition of i4 Business, Aguel's column focused on Arie's leadership and vision ...

It's hard to believe, but this month marks the 20th anniversary of Fun Spot's arrival on I-Drive. Even more incredible is how John Arie Sr., an Oviedo native, has been steadily growing his theme park empire for more than 40 years.

On behalf of Visit Orlando, we're excited to see him recognized as a 2017 Business Leader of the Year.

During the recession, for instance, Arie had the foresight to expand operations. More recently, when looking to grow Fun Spot's geographical footprint, he chose to re-invest in our community instead of venturing into other markets. Along those lines, the partnerships he's forged with similar companies, such as Gatorland and Old Town, have made Orlando's regional tourism community even stronger.

Most every successful business leader operates under a unique set of guiding principles, and Arie has often stated that his are faith, family and fun. Judging from Fun Spot's growth, that seems to be a winning formula - one that's been rewarded by a surge in passholders the past couple of years.

To quote a certain commercial all of us have seen many times on TV, Arie has built a "HUUUUUGE" legacy. And it's only getting bigger. Congrats, John, on a job well done!


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