DEC 2017

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 20 The AWARDS Issue! Getting Back To Normal A crucial element of getting a destination "back to normal" after a storm has threatened the area is mak- ing sure the public is aware that properties are up and running. By communicating this early and effective- ly, destinations can assist meeting planners seeking to reassure participants that it's safe to travel to the meeting site. Visit Orlando was among those that got that message out soon after Hurricane Irma had passed. Having struck south Florida on Sept. 10 as a huge Category 4 storm, making land- fall in the Florida Keys and on Marco Island, Irma jogged far enough west that by Sept. 14, Orlando meetings industry spokespersons were announcing that most venues had re- sumed full operations. "The desti- nation' s attractions, hotels, resorts and meetings facilities are up and running, and already working with meeting planners on scheduling fu- ture shows," George Aguel, president & CEO of Visit Orlando, announced. To underscore this fact, the an- nouncement pointed out that "the destination is currently hosting thousands of visitors at its 450 hotels, and began welcoming new flight arrivals at Orlando International Airport and Orlando Sanford International Airport over the last few days." The Orange County Convention Center served a dual purpose as a staging ground for equipment and machinery used in response and recovery efforts both during and after the storm, but removal of minimal landscape de- bris was the only post-storm action required. The staff was already preparing to welcome the load-in of its first major post-storm event on Sept. 14, according to Visit Orlando. Additionally, Visit Florida got the word out that the area' s largest theme parks - including Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando - were open within a few days after the storm had passed over Florida. "Visit Orlando has communicated with hundreds of our member businesses, and it is clear the vast majority are back to business," Aguel said in the Sept. 14 announcement. "As one of the top meetings destinations in the United States, Orlando has an extraordinary infrastructure in place that responds quickly and efficiently to ensure minimal business dis- ruption to this industry, which is so important to us, and this system has clearly served us well." n Aguel

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