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May 14, 2018

Despite Hurricane, Orlando Set Convention Record in 2017

Orlando set a record for convention attendance in 2017, tourism officials report. The destination made the announcement at an event commemorating the state’s 72 million visitors in 2017, making the year the first time a destination in the United States has passed the 70 million visitor milestone. 

According to the latest statistics from Visit Orlando, the region’s destination marketing organization, the Orange County Convention Center welcomed a record 1.53 million attendees in 2017, marking a 5 percent increase over the previous year. The destination overall welcomed 72 million visitors that year, also a 5 percent increase year over year. 

"Our record-breaking year was achieved despite international headwinds and the statewide effects of Hurricane Irma," said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel in a written statement. "In 2017, our destination launched new consumer experiences on a significant scale and our marketing efforts leveraged increasing consumer confidence in the United States."

Other new milestones in 2017 included a new record for U.S. visitors, as well as record airline arrivals. Orlando International Airport became the busiest airport in Florida, with 44.6 million passengers (+6.4 percent).

In addition to the openings of new attractions, resorts and dining venues, Orlando's visitation benefited from new and adjusted destination marketing strategies from Visit Orlando, officials said.

Domestically, Visit Orlando recognized the potential of the country's growing positive economic indicators and increased marketing initiatives focused on U.S. audiences, with a special emphasis in the Northeast region. Domestic visitation for 2017 grew to an all-time record total of 65.86 million.

Internationally, with several key markets facing uncertainties, Visit Orlando maintained its marketing, brand and publicity programs to retain Orlando's position as a top international destination, with 6.15 million visitors.

Addressing potential concerns after Hurricane Irma struck in September, Visit Orlando launched initiatives to demonstrate how Orlando tourism areas rebounded. This was accomplished through social media and publicity campaigns that used authentic visuals of real guests, in real-time, enjoying and commenting on the status of the destination.

Source: Visit Orlando


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