Convention Center News and Views
December 2020

This has been a year like no other for the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) and the International Drive District. As we reflect upon 2020, I would like to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude for your ongoing support of the OCCC, the convention industry and the many businesses that support our mission of economic development. We are so fortunate to live in a community that understands the importance of regional partnerships. 

Over the past few months, our team has proven that the OCCC is committed to finding new and innovative ways to embrace our new normal, so we can continue Meeting Safely Today for a Stronger Tomorrow. Since launching our robust Recovery and Resiliency Plan in June, all eyes have been on Orlando to lead our clients, the community and the industry out of the pandemic and into a sustainable economic recovery.

As we look forward to 2021 with cautious optimism, and as Orange County readies to distribute two different vaccines, I have been asked about my goals for the coming year. Three benchmarks come to mind.

1) First, we will continue to partner with our customers to help our industry recover – all with the goal of maximizing and growing our market share.
2) Second, we are developing strategies to maximize the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) during the recovery, with careful control of OCCC expenditures.
3) Last, we are revising the Center’s long-range plan to develop the next steps for both staffing and our facility, as we recover from the pandemic and come out on the other side.

Your support has enabled us to be one of the only convention centers nationwide to host large-scale conventions – safely and without incident. We have shown that we are an industry leader, affirming the Center’s competitiveness and reputation for excellence by capturing business from competing convention destinations as seen from our recent bookings of Olympia Fitness and Performance Weekend and MAGIC Pop Up Orlando – a women’s and men’s apparel, accessories and footwear trade event.

These proof points show that our Meeting Safely Today for a Stronger Tomorrow campaign has successfully communicated to the world that we are open, safe and ready for business. We are focused on the future and ready for our community to make its comeback.

With our busiest month since the onset of the pandemic wrapping up, the OCCC continues to carefully prepare and control its space, to provide a safe and responsible environment for attendees, clients, employees and the surrounding community. Several events at the Center have implemented multiple health and safety measures to ensure attendees, exhibitors and employees are safe. 

Increased hand sanitizer stations, staggered attendance, specific entries and exits, wider aisles with directional signage, floor stickers, temperature checks for all guests entering the exhibit halls and enhanced cleaning protocols are just some of the extensive procedures put in place for our safe and controlled gatherings.

Earlier this month, the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin hosted nearly 6,000 attendees across nearly 1 million square feet of exhibit space in the North-South Building for an estimated economic impact of $15.4 million. With no spectators, AKC attendees were limited to exhibitors, handlers, handler assistants and dog owners. We also hosted the Central Florida International Auto Show from Dec. 18-20, and look forward to hosting the Surf Expo on Jan. 6-8, 2021 and MAGIC Pop Up Orlando by Informa Markets Fashion on Feb. 9-11, 2021.  

The relocation of these events and our stringent protocols has reinforced our stellar reputation for safety, customer service, flexibility, and doing the right thing. In addition to being relationship-driven and innovative, we have prioritized staying engaged with our employees, clients, partners and stakeholders.

We thank you for your continued support and we look forward to hosting your event at the OCCC in the near future.
Mark Tester
Executive Director
Orange County Convention Center
Meeting Safely | Recent OCCC Activity
In Dec. 2020, the OCCC reconnected the dog show community at the AKC National Championships.
Connecting Communities with Confidence at the OCCC
Returning to the OCCC for its 10th year, the 2020 American Kennel Club (AKC) National Championships presented by Royal Canin celebrated its 20th anniversary at the Center from Dec. 8-13, 2020.

With no spectators and enhanced safety protocols, the event may have looked different from previous years, but the extensive planning put forward by show managers ensured a safe and enjoyable event for attendees, exhibitors and participants.
In Oct. 2020, the OCCC welcomed the American Academy of Optometry for its second year at the Center. 
Meeting Virtually at the OCCC: Academy at Home 2020
In October, the OCCC welcomed the Academy 2020 At Home virtual conference, presented by the American Academy of Optometry (AAO).

Offering a custom virtual solution, the Center provided a safe and controlled space for AAO leadership to host a seamless virtual experience for more than 6,400 industry professionals from 55 countries for a series of comprehensive educational seminars and workshops.

In Sept. 2020, the OCCC hosted more than 1,200 brides and grooms at the Florida Wedding Expo. 
Meeting Safely at the Florida Wedding Expo
The OCCC hosted more than 1,200 local brides and grooms on Sept. 20, 2020 for the Florida Wedding Expo.

Continuing to reimagine and reshape the future of events at the OCCC, show planners strategically modified traditional operations to prioritize the safety of attendees, exhibitors and employees.

In July 2020, the OCCC earned its GBAC STAR accreditation. 
A Closer Look at the OCCC's GBAC STAR Accreditation
In July, the OCCC earned its Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR accreditation. Recognized as the gold standard of safe venues, the OCCC was amongst the first in the nation to earn this industry-esteemed certification, providing third party validation from the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA).

The OCCC launched its Meeting Safely Today for a Stronger Tomorrow campaign to instill confidence and to share safe meeting best practices at the Center. 
Top Five Reasons to Host Your Next Event at the OCCC
With the traditional landscape of conventions, trade shows and live events temporarily altered, the OCCC is working closely with its destination and industry partners to pioneer and implement groundbreaking solutions that amplify its position as a safe meetings venue and destination.

Leading the way for the industry, the Center has identified the top five reasons for clients to book their upcoming event at the OCCC. View the full article to learn more.

Recent Media Attention
The OCCC continues to forge strong relationships with local and trade media partners, to further instill community and client confidence in Meeting Safely at the OCCC, with the ultimate goal of driving economic growth throughout the region. 
Media Gallery Clips
News 13 | CFIAS Economic Impact
WFTV | Orlando Auto Show
WESH 2 | Central Fla. Auto Show
WKMG | OCCC Hosts Major Events
Fox 35 | AKC Championship
WESH 2 | Return of Events
Fox 35 | Orlando Matters
WFTV | Valencia Training Classes
Fox 35 | OCCC Executive Studio
In the News Notable Mentions
Northstar Meetings Magazine
Orlando Business Journal
Trade Show Executive
Exhibition World
Trade Show News Network
Smart Meetings
Meetings Net
The Meeting Magazines
2020 Accolades and Awards
In 2020, the OCCC received numerous awards and accolades for its commitment to sustainability, leadership and world-class facilities. 
ConventionSouth | Readers' Choice
Northstar Meetings | Stella Award
Exhibitor | Center of Excellence
U.S. Green Building Council | Rise to the Challenge Award
VenuesNow | Mark Tester
All Star Award
Orlando Magazine | Yulita Osuba Women of the Year
Our Story
We have come a long way through the years. From humble beginnings in 1983, to becoming one of the largest convention centers in the nation, our mission is to drive economic impact for our community, with the goal of maintaining and growing jobs.
Saving the Seas… one group at a time!
We provide Events That Matter. Along with unmatched thrills, culinary excellence, 
and flexibility to do events your way, support for our parks contributes to animal 
rescue efforts around the world, with over 36,000 rescues and counting. 

Set the stage with Meetings & Events at Universal Orlando Resort™
With three amazing theme parks and the Universal CityWalk™ dining and entertainment complex, Universal Orlando Resort has everything you need to set the stage for an incredible event.

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