How Go to Orlando’s new CEO plans to carry tourism again to Orlando

How Visit Orlando's new CEO plans to bring tourism back to Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. – Visit Orlando starts a new year with a new campaign and the new CEO and President Casandra Metaj.

“My priority is all about recovery, recovery, recovery,” Metaj said on Tuesday.

Her job will be cut out for her as the central Florida tourism industry slowly recovers from the April pandemic closings.

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It does this one day after the Orange County Comptroller’s office published the tourism development tax collection in December. The county is raising $ 10,592,000, which is a 59% decrease from December 2019, according to the data. However, it was the eighth straight month that collections increased due to the devastating success of Orlando’s tourism in April.

“While the steady monthly increases in collections is positive news, $ 10,592,000 is still less than we raised in a month before the pandemic since September 2010. And it’s less than we raised in each December since 2005 “said Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond Monday.

Visit Orlando also released data showing hotel occupancy was 50.1%, the highest since the pandemic began the week after Christmas in December. It was even higher on New Year’s Eve, as 63.4% of hotels had booked that night.

“We are still well below last year’s level,” said Daryl Cronk, senior director of market research at Visit Orlando. “During this period we were on average 50% busy. Last year we were almost 90% and on New Years Eve we would see a level in the mid 90s that is generally quite busy. “


According to Visit Orlando, the vacation season also brought in “the highest average daily rate for destination hotels since the pandemic began, $ 111.99 for the week of December 27, which resulted in the first week averaging over $ 100 since early March.”


However, the holiday surge is expected to wear off again in the slower off-season months between Christmas and Easter.

For the first time since the pandemic began, Visit Orlando is launching a new campaign called “The Wonder Remains,” targeting key markets outside of the state.

“For a while, Visit Orlando focused on local stays,” said Matej. “But this is the first campaign we’re launching outside of Florida.”

Visit Orlando is also targeting new states from which more families, like Texas, are traveling.

“As for the origin markets, we’re excited, Texas, and we think that’s partly because the parks are open here and they stay closed in California,” said Cronk.


Matej said the new campaign will include TV, radio, magazine advertising, and target states such as Georgia, Alabama and the Southeast.

“Research shows that the desire to travel is increasing, so we want to capture and captivate that,” said Matej. “It also invites those willing to travel and informs them that Orlando is open and a safe place to work.”

Matej also said part of the campaign is focused on security and recognizes the partnerships the airport, theme parks, hotels and restaurants have in promoting security.

“Part of our messaging to potential visitors is that they have a shared responsibility. When they come there is a mask protocol and there are things they need to follow to be safe,” she added.


On the short term, Matej said her goal during these slow winter months is to keep and keep the current shows at the Orange County Convention Center and to see if there are ways to move shows to Orange County from cities that are still closed.


“There are ways to move some of this business,” she said.

Then the goal is to look to the spring break and summer season, the busiest seasons for Orlando’s tourism and the seasons also ruined by last year’s closings. The lowest tax collection for tourism development was reported in April with an average hotel occupancy rate of just 12%, according to Visit Orlando.

“We know there will be difficult weeks in the short term, but our focus right now is on making sure that spring and summer are strong for our community,” Metaj said. “There are many key markets that are interested in Visit Orlando and we know that because they come to our website.”


As for long-term goals, Metaj believes it will take time. Research has shown that many visitors still travel within 250 miles of their homes. Without the international travelers, it will be months, maybe even years, for them to fully recover.


“When we talk to industry economists about a full recovery, we look to 2023,” said Matej. “It’s a step-by-step approach, right now we have a lot of staycation and drive-in markets and we are seeing research that people in the distance have this pent up demand, but we probably think from a global perspective that it will be 2023. “

Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.

Joseph Hubbard

Joseph Hubbard is a seasoned journalist passionate about uncovering stories and reporting on events that shape our world. With a strong background in journalism, he has dedicated his career to providing accurate, unbiased, and insightful news coverage to the public.

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