Convention Center News and Views
March 2021

There is a great quote by Helen Keller, "optimism is the faith that leads to achievement."

If there’s one lesson we have learned from the past year is that leaders need their faith and their optimism. This time last year, one of the largest conventions in the world, cancelled their show mid-move in at the Orange County Convention Center. The reasoning was a new virus called, COVID-19 – the Coronavirus. Almost one year ago, a once-in-a-century pandemic arrived in the United States and in Orlando. That will shake anyone to their core. All of us remember those early times of the pandemic. Here we are – still standing strong today.

While many other centers shut down and laid off their staff, we persevered. Our team knew that we would not be defined by this moment. We would be defined by what we do because of it. After all, we are the Center of Hospitality – in Orlando. One of the most beloved and trusted destinations in world.

With the forward-thinking leadership of our Mayor Jerry L. Demings, whose philosophy includes creating a community of innovation, collaboration and inclusiveness, we persevered together as a community. Here in Orange County, we want to lead, and leadership means going first with boldness. We lead with partnerships and developing relationships with stakeholders and clients. And we lead by growing this community through economic development and Tourist Development Tax (hotel tax) revenues.

Since the onset of the pandemic, we have hosted more than 60 events, including the first national business to business conventions like the Surf Expo in January and MAGIC Pop-Up Orlando, OFFPRICE Orlando Market, and WWIN Orlando Showcase in February. These trade shows demonstrate our commitment to the health and safety of attendees and exhibitors and have signaled to the world that Center is Meeting Safely Today for a Stronger Tomorrow.

No other venue has hosted that many live events, safely and without incident. We did not do it alone – this was a team effort with the amazing employees at the OCCC, support from Orange County Government and through our partners, stakeholders and clients’ confidence in our strategies.

Last month, we were able to host several simultaneous events. In fact, the Sunshine Volleyball Classic, which lasted two weekends, the AAU Volleyball Classic and the All Star Challenge, a cheer and dance competition, produced more than $56 million in economic impact through almost 38,000 room nights for nearly 44,000 players, coaches, family members and other attendees. That is in addition to hosting the Orlando Boat Show, a consumer show with 5,000 attendees, and space for vaccine distribution with the Florida Department of Health and testing at our remote parking garage.

As I mentioned in the Tourist Development Council meeting on March 26, we also have about 15 new conventions and trade shows that have relocated their 2021 events from other destinations to Orlando and the OCCC. That will result about 60,000 room nights and an economic impact of $124 million in new business for Orlando. We hope to maintain those relationships so that they consider Orlando again in the future and tremendously value their trust they have in us to safely host their important events.

Our ability to serve our community and successfully host events continues to get noticed. We have received numerous calls from industry colleagues asking how we have managed our comeback. It is through partnerships, collaboration, and perseverance. After all, that’s the Orange County spirit. We have persevered. In fact, our fall and winter months are jam packed, and we are looking at a very strong calendar in 2022.

We are so proud of where we are today and of the support we have received from our clients, stakeholders, employees and our community.

We look forward to great times ahead.
Mark Tester
Executive Director
Orange County Convention Center
OCCC Press Releases and Blogs
The 2021 FTBA Construction Conference hosted a hybrid event at the OCCC on Feb. 22-23.
Construction Conference Pivots to Meet Safely at the Orange County Convention Center
The Florida Transportation Builders’ Association (FTBA) hosted its annual Construction Conference at the OCCC from Feb. 22-23, 2021. The hybrid event was a testament to successfully hosting live events under modified operations at the OCCC.

Four leading travel basketball organizations have formed Summer Elite Grassroots Basketball, will collaborate to host girls’ and boys’ events in Orlando
OCCC to Host Three Consecutive Events for Summer Elite Grassroots Basketball 
Summer Elite Grassroots Basketball will be taking over Orlando in July, with boys and girls teams converging from across the United States to play high level basketball this summer. The OCCC will be transformed into the mecca of grassroots basketball with three events taking place from July 20 – August 1, 2021.

The OCCC's Deputy Director Yulita Osuba, CMP was recognized as a visionary in the 2021 Smart Women in Meetings awards for her innovative leadership and commitment to the Center.
OCCC’s Yulita Osuba Recognized by Smart Meetings
Smart Meetings has recognized Orange County Convention Center’s Deputy Director Yulita Osuba, CMP as a 2021 Smart Women in Meetings in the Visionary category for her innovative leadership and commitment to the OCCC.

Solace 41 – Queen of the Orlando Boat Show from Atlantic Marine.
Orlando Boat Show Attendance Highest In 10 Years
Marine Industry Association of Central Florida (MIACF) announced the successful return of the Orlando Boat Show with record attendance at the Orange County Convention Center held March 5-7, 2021. Attendance was up 66% from 2019, the most recent show following a hiatus in 2020 due to coronavirus concerns.

All Star Challenge Cheer & Dance Competition hosted at the OCCC from March 6-7, 2021.
Sporting Events Dominate Spring and Summer OCCC Calendar Slam Dunking $123 Million in Estimated Economic Impact for Orange County 
Eight established sporting events dominate the spring and summer calendar at the OCCC providing an estimated $123 million in economic impact with 95,760 projected guests. 

NASTT No-Dig Show attendees gather safely at the OCCC from March 28-31, 2021.
NASTT No-Dig Show Marks Another Successful In-Person Trade Show at the OCCC
The North American Society for Trenchless Technology’s (NASTT) No-Dig Show, held from March 28 – March 31 at the OCCC, marked another successful in-person trade show held at the Center since the onset of the pandemic, generating $3.4 million in economic impact for the community.

Recent Media
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 | Vaccine for Fall Rebound
WKMG | Tourism Development Tax
OCCC | Pandemic Pivot
News 13 | Reassignments at the OCCC
Valencia College | AST Program
Notable Print Mentions
Wall Street Journal | Grab Your Lanyard. Trade Shows Are Plotting a Comeback.
Orlando Business Journal | Trade Show Tips: Experts Share How 2021 Surf Expo Succeeded During a Pandemic
CNBC | Boat Shows are Back and Drawing Big Crowds Amid Robust Demand
TSE | Three Trade Show Organizers Fashion Collaboration in Orlando
Trade Show News Network | The Shows Must Go On: Trio of Fashion Events Prove To Be Stronger Together
News 13 | OCCC Looks to Vaccine for a Shot at Fall Rebound
PCMA | How The First Major B2B Trade Show So Far In 2021 Pulled It Off
Sourcing Journal | Safety First at Informa’s First In-Person Fashion Event Since the Pandemic
News 13 | Orange County Move Kept 200 Convention Center Workers Employed
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