We spoke with Fred Shea, VP of strategic partnerships for Visit Orlando to learn more about innovative initiatives.
PREVUE: What types of innovative initiatives has your destination implemented this year?
Fred Shea: Marking a new chapter in Orlando’s history, the 650-acre health and life sciences park, Lake Nona Medical City, is a landmark for Orlando and a premier location for medical care, research and education. This $1.5 billion facility provides educational and professional development opportunities for groups and an intellectually sound resource network for local speakers, in addition to meeting space and training facilities.
Speaking of new developments, several world-famous theme parks have significant and innovative expansion projects in the works, including Walt Disney World Resort’s new Fantasyland and the transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs. There’s also the recently opened Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld Orlando; the new Transformers: The Ride – 3D at Universal Orlando Resort; and the new Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
In addition, leading the way in a greener economy is key for Orlando. Through collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council, area hotels and attractions, Visit Orlando has been integral in establishing Green Destination Orlando—a pilot program setting sustainability standards for destinations globally, guiding them toward Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification.
At the Orange County Convention Center, a recently installed rooftop photovoltaic system generates 12 percent of the venue’s annual electrical needs from power collected through solar energy. And, nearly 300 ChargePoint stations have been installed in Orlando, many along the International Drive corridor and at convention hotels near the Convention Center. If attendees prefer to travel on foot, elevated and covered pedestrian walkways connect a number of hotels to the Convention Center.
Q: How can planners best inspire their attendees in your destination?
A: In Orlando, meetings tap into the destination’s heritage of creative thinking by providing an environment that fosters innovation. It’s a place where all market segments are expertly supported, and where unique options abound for meetings of every kind to get down to business.
After meetings, colleagues and clients can build connections at Orlando’s exciting entertainment and dining districts. Close and convenient to extraordinary hotels and unique venues, these six distinct districts reinforce the variety of Orlando’s famous attractions.
There are also 176 golf courses to play, 19 destination spas to enjoy, an unparalleled amount of cultural and art experiences to explore, and unique world-class attractions to visit.