See how Orlando celebrated Global Meetings Industry Day 2022, including an official mayoral proclamation, a social media blitz, and key venues “turning blue.”

On April 7, 2022, Orlando joined tourism, meetings and events professionals around the globe who met both virtually and in-person to celebrate the annual Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID). Organized by the Meetings Mean Business (MMB) coalition and the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), the day was intended to focus attention on the enormous economic footprint of business meetings, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows, exhibitions and other face-to-face gatherings, and what they bring to businesses and the local economy.

For the second straight year, GMID’s theme was “Meet Safe” — a timely and pertinent message to demonstrate the way safe, productive meetings are taking place now. Here’s a look at how Orlando came together to salute GMID while showcasing the undeniable value of the meetings industry, and how we’ll continue to lead the way in 2022 and beyond.

Please note: Depending on the timing of your visit, some experiences may be temporarily modified. Learn more about healthy business travel in Orlando, and check with your preferred businesses for their current status.

GMID 2022 in Orlando

The Orlando community, including Visit Orlando, the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), Orange County Government, the City of Orlando and destination partners, used GMID to celebrate the indelible impact of meetings and events on the local economy. This cooperative effort was led by Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings, who issued a proclamation to officially declare April 7, 2022, as Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) throughout the county.

In addition, area venues were asked to light up in blue, the official color of GMID, to commemorate the day. These included the OCCC, Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando, and other hotel and restaurant partners throughout the destination.

Orlando destination partners also joined in a new #OrlandoIsMeeting social media campaign to acknowledge the significance of meetings and events to Orlando, featuring messages from Mayor Demings, OCCC Director Mark Tester, and Visit Orlando President & CEO Casandra Matej.

“This year, as we celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day, we reflect on the tremendous value of face-to-face meetings and the incredible economic impact meetings and events bring to our community. Thanks to the leadership of our local government, healthcare industry, hotel partners and local businesses, Orlando’s meeting and convention industry is well on its way towards recovery,” said Matej.

Matej also participated in a GMID Women’s Leadership Panel, which was part of Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI’s) 12-hour virtual broadcast. The panel was hosted by Annette Gregg, MPI senior vice president of experience. Matej was joined on the panel by Becky Sheehan, CFO of Encore; Gerilyn Horan, vice president of group sales for Hilton; and Michelle Mason, president and CEO of ASAE.

Mike Waterman presenting for GMID at MPI event
Visit Orlando Chief Sales Officer Mike Waterman’s Presentation at the Visit Orlando-Sponsored MPI/NACE GMID Event on April 7, 2022

Additionally, Orlando’s MPI and the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) chapters joined together on April 7 for a GMID event sponsored by Visit Orlando at downtown Orlando’s Amway Center. The event showcased industry leaders speaking about the recovery of the meetings industry in Orlando and across the globe. Visit Orlando Chief Sales Officer Mike Waterman was a speaker. Other speakers included Courtney Stanley (keynote speaker) and Ashley T. Brundage, president of Empowering Differences, among others.

OCCC on the Books

Orange County Convention Center lit up in blue
Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center (Pictured) and Other Key Destination Venues ‘Turned Blue’ for GMID on April 7, 2022

Since summer 2020, working closely with local government officials, health officials, local businesses and leaders in the tourism industry, Orlando has hosted more than 200 live events, with literally hundreds more on the 2022 calendar at the award-winning OCCC alone.

“Global Meetings Industry Day provides a valuable opportunity to highlight the impact that face-to-face conventions, trade shows and meetings have on Orange County businesses and the local economy,” said Tester. “It brings our stakeholders, industry partners and advocates together to reconnect and exchange best practices.

“We understand that collaboration and health and safety strategies are the building blocks of our industry’s recovery. Our future work together is the key to keeping a robust and prosperous economy, filled with vitality and optimism, as we welcome back clients and attendees to the convention center and Orlando from across the globe.”

In fiscal year 2021-22, the OCCC has an astounding 140 projected events slated with 1.4 million estimated attendees, and $2.4 billion in anticipated economic impact. Approximately 29,300 individuals are employed by activity generated at the OCCC, along with 1,200 area businesses.

Orlando is continually ranked as the number one meetings destination in the country; no surprise when you consider it’s home to an award-winning convention center, convenient transportation, hundreds of hotels and resorts, and world-class theme parks, attractions, dining and entertainment options. Welcoming hundreds of events and millions of attendees each year, Orlando meetings and conventions pack a walloping $3 billion annually into the local economy while supporting thousands of jobs in the hospitality sector.

Future Trends Look Bright

Kelli Dunn, Mike Waterman, Jordan Weir and Dorothy Kelley for GMID at MPI event
From Left: Visit Orlando’s Kelli Dunn, Mike Waterman, Jordan Weir and Dorothy Kelley at the Visit Orlando-Sponsored Meeting Professionals International/ National Association for Catering and Events GMID Event on April 7, 2022

The news for business travel seems to just get better: In a recent survey by the USTA, 84% of business travelers plan to take at least one trip to attend conferences, conventions or trade shows in the next six months.

“The return of in-person meetings and events and business travel in general is a welcome sign after more than two years of pandemic related uncertainty,” said USTA President and CEO Roger Dow. “There is simply no substitute for a face-to-face meeting, which is proven to lead to more fruitful business opportunities and can help power an economic and jobs recovery in communities across America.”

And at least one meeting planner is rejoicing after a successful recent convention at the OCCC. “After cancelling our 2020 expos due to COVID-19, our members were so thankful to back live in 2021,” said Stacey L. Mills, CMP, CEM, senior director, Conference & Trade Show Operations, International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions North America.

“There is no question that meeting face-to-face is essential for not only doing business, but for relationship building and general well-being. While virtual offerings meet the needs for those who cannot travel, it does not provide the same experience of being together in person.”

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