Tourism and economic agencies join forces to market Orlando

It’s an idea that seems almost as compatible as Mickey and Minnie. Take the tens of millions of tourists who plan to visit Central Florida’s theme parks every year and sell them on the virtues of moving their businesses or businesses to the area. In the half-century that Orlando has been a hub of tourism, that hadn’t been done until now.

Quasi-state agencies that usually separately promote tourism and economic development in Orlando announced Monday that they are joining forces to market the area under a single brand. With an “Incredibly Real” tagline, the brand plan will appeal to tourists, meeting planners, conventioneers, corporate relocation specialists, site selectors, business owners and CEOs. businesses. About $23 million will be spent there this year.

The branding plan was announced as officials reported that 59.3 million tourists came to Orlando in 2021. That’s a 68% increase from the number of people affected by the pandemic in 2020, but it remains less than 80% of 2019 pre-pandemic figures.

“Looking at 2021, we’ve started to see some really strong numbers,” said Casandra Matej, President and CEO of Visit Orlando.

The brand plan highlights Orlando’s economic strengths in digital game development and military simulation, combined with its tourist attractions, outdoor activities, and cultural, sports and dining scenes. It will begin on Monday with television and digital ads in New York, Chicago and Boston, as well as a mural in Brooklyn, New York.

The goal is to tell “the whole story of Orlando,” Matej said. “While we may have different target audiences, there are many connections between those audiences.”

With the growth of remote work during the pandemic, the timing of the joint brand seemed right, officials said.

“The same person who makes a corporate relocation decision is likely the same person who brings family to Orlando and has likely attended a meeting here in the past two years,” said Tim Giuliani, president and CEO. director of Orlando Economic Partnership. “When people come to us to move to Orlando, it’s not the first time they’ve come to Orlando. It is a global brand.

Walt Disney World is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and a long-awaited Guardians of the Galaxy ride through its Epcot park will open later this month. But it’s just not the rides that attract more visitors.

Orlando International Airport is about to complete its biggest expansion ever, adding 15 gates that can handle an additional 10 to 12 million passengers a year. The Brightline private train service will also expand next year to Orlando, offering a two-hour trip from South Florida to Orlando Airport.

The increased capacity of Orlando International Airport represents another synergy between tourism and economic development. Driven by the tourism market, the expansion will bring more airlines and travel routes to Orlando, making the area more attractive to businesses or businesses looking to relocate, Giuliani said.

“It creates huge connectivity,” Giuliani said. “As more businesses have global interests, concerns and connectivity, this ease of entry and exit allows Orlando to rival any city.”

Tourism figures released Monday by Visit Orlando reflect how visitors coming to Orlando have been affected by pandemic restrictions. The 2021 increase over 2020 was driven by domestic visitors, with business and international tourists lagging behind the growth. While domestic visits increased by 70%, they only increased by nearly 54% for business travelers and 25.7% for international travelers.

In an effort to control the coronavirus, the United States has imposed border restrictions on non-essential travel from Canada and Mexico. Many of these restrictions were lifted last November, but international travelers must still be vaccinated and those traveling by air must present a negative coronavirus test.

Domestic leisure visits in 2021 were 85% of those in 2019, before the pandemic. Figures in 2021 were two-thirds of those in 2019 for domestic business travel and less than a third for international visits.

After the United States dropped some pandemic restrictions last November, Orlando began to see an increase in international visitors compared to its most popular, Matej said.

“As soon as the rules of engagement changed in November, we started to see real interest from our core markets,” Matej said. “We expect that by 2023 the international will be 100 per cent recovered.”

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