Visit Orlando As the president and CEO of Visit Orlando, the new name for what was the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Gary Sain has a lot on his plate -- an unbleached, fully biodegradable and compostable plate, that is. Sain, a veteran of the travel and hospitality industries, discussed the latest developments in a recent chat with M&C.
Why the name change? We felt that "convention and visitor bureau" didn't have as much meaning anymore, especially to generations X and Y -- and most of them think of Orange County as in California. Similar changes are happening with bureau names everywhere now, from Visit Florida to Visit Britain.
What's at the top of your list these days? Definitely our Central Florida Green Destination Initiative, which debuted last October. We're working with local lodging, meeting, dining and other establishments to build awareness, set standards and establish a network of green properties and venues to serve as role models for the hospitality industry. We're working in tandem with the state's Green Lodging program, under which more than 100 area hotels already have become designated properties, thanks to their efforts to control waste, use energy wisely and be kind to the earth. We're also excited about hosting the MPI World Education Congress in July.
What's perhaps most surprising about Orlando? It's that we have a vibrant downtown, with lots of great places for attendees to shop and eat. That's where you'll find our new $380 million Amway Center, which will become the first NBA facility to earn LEED certification, and we're building a new performing arts center.
What destinations are on your personal wish list? I'd love to go to India, Africa...and I love South America. I hope to get to Argentina and Chile in the near future.