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Transforming Orlando Tourism in 2020

6 Capital Projects

(February 2020) – Our destination is always growing, always evolving to meet and exceed visitors’ expectations. Here are some of the areas where tourism’s impact will be felt the most, this year and beyond.

ORANGE COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER:
Boosting Our Competitive Advantage
Slated to break ground this year, the Orange County Convention Center’s $605 million Capital Improvement Plan will offer groups more connectivity and flexibility for their events. The Convention Way Grand Concourse will add 60,000 square feet in meeting space and an 80,000-square-foot ballroom. A new multipurpose venue will provide 200,000 square feet for up to 20,000 guests, including a retractable floor with flexible seating options to accommodate a wide range of on-site events.

AIRPORT EXPANSIONS:
Lengthening the Runway for Visitation Growth
Recently crossing 50 million annual passengers (70% of whom are visitors), Orlando International Airport continues expanding to meet traveler demand. Crews are working on the South Terminal, which is slated to open in late 2021 with 19 new gates that can accommodate at least 24 aircraft. Next door are the South Airport Automated People Mover Complex and Intermodal Terminal Facility, bringing high-speed rail to our destination. Also this year, Orlando Sanford International Airport is set to conclude its $60 million expansion, following three-fold passenger growth between 2012 and 2018.

DISNEY:
Transforming EPCOT and Adding New Thrills Elsewhere
Reimagined into four neighborhoods — World Showcase, World Celebration, World Nature and World Discovery — Epcot is being transformed to feature nearly 20 new experiences and attractions, including Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (2021) and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (summer 2020). At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is slated to open in March, a Tron roller coaster (2021) is under construction at Magic Kingdom Park, and the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel will host its first guests next year.

BOOMING HOTEL GROWTH:
Adding More Places for Visitors to Stay
Between 2019 and 2020, Orlando will have added nearly 9,000 hotel rooms, our largest expansion in two decades. One of the most-anticipated projects is the high-end, $350 million JW Marriott Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa.Slated to open this year, it will feature 16 stories, 516 rooms, 50,000 square feet of meeting space, a rooftop bar, restaurants and numerous amenities.

 

UNIVERSAL:
Opening a Giant Hotel and Building an Epic Theme Park
Universal will open its 2,050-room Dockside Inn and Suites this spring, offering affordable lodging options that enhance Orlando’s value proposition for family vacations. And even though its newest theme park, Epic Universe, is still a few years off, work is underway on the 700-acre site that will house multiple themed lands, rides, hotels, restaurants, an entertainment center and shops.

 

DR. PHILLIPS CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS:
Raising Orlando’s Star Potential
Phase 2 of construction at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts will conclude with two all-new performance spaces opening in 2020. Steinmetz Hall, a 1,700-seat multiform theater, will feature state-of-the-art acoustics and a wide range of configuration options. The Green Room will offer a large rehearsal and performance space well suited for corporate events. When complete, the nearly 700,000-square-foot facility in the heart of downtown will further elevate our destination’s cultural profile, enticing residents, leisure and business travelers alike.


ON THE VERGE OF A DYNAMIC DECADE FOR ORLANDO TOURISM
Innovation, evolution will define our destination in the 2020s

As we embark on a new decade, there’s never been a more dynamic time to welcome visitors to Orlando. The evidence is right here in these highlights of our robust tourism industry, which continues to evolve, invest in the future, create jobs and generate taxes that benefit our entire region. You’ve probably heard that Orlando is America’s most visited destination year after year — and this achievement doesn’t happen by accident. Our ever-growing roster of engaging attractions at our theme parks and beyond, coupled with strong global marketing and world-class hospitality, keeps visitors coming back in record number.

Sustaining Orlando’s popularity and momentum requires strategically promoting our destination, and Visit Orlando is focusing on this in a big way in 2020, rolling out bold new campaigns targeting leisure and business travel. Tapping into the spirit of innovation that defines our region, we will also continue to find new ways to partner with our member companies to drive visitation and share the story of our destination.

The coming decade offers tremendous promise for Orlando’s $75 billion tourism industry, spanning every sector of our economy while supporting our community’s way of life. Here’s to our destination’s ongoing success in the 2020s!

 

About the author

i4 Business

i4 Business

i4 Business magazine has become one of the most trusted voices for and about the Central Florida business community. Each month through our print and digital platforms, we provide access to meet, to learn from and to learn about some of the incredible entrepreneurs and business leaders who are shaping our region.

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