How innovation and tourism work side by side in Orlando
Most communities have a basic industry that they nurture, investing in new ideas and technologies and developing partnerships with investors and stakeholders. As these industries develop, more and more companies are setting up shop to support them, creating a diverse and robust economy. For Detroit, it’s the automobile; for Silicon Valley, it is high technology; for Orlando, it is tourism.
“There is only one theme park capital of the world, and that makes Orlando a very popular place to enjoy a truly magical vacation,” said George Aguel, CEO and President of Visit Orlando. “In a relatively short time, Orlando has grown into one of the most recognized destinations in the world and the number one travel destination in the United States.”
Tourism generates around $ 66 billion in revenue each year; In 2016 alone, visitors to Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties contributed more than $ 5 billion in state and local taxes through their spending. This paved the way for Orlando’s growth and influenced a vibrant and rapidly growing economy.
Inspiration and innovation
Following his tourist successOrlando has become a destination of choice for businesses, especially high-tech industries such as advanced manufacturing, defense and aviation, simulation technology, gaming software, and life sciences. These companies are drawn to Orlando because of the success of the theme park industry and interdisciplinary technological innovation.
Industries want to locate in thriving, diverse and cooperative economies, and can have a long history of strong support from state and local governments. They want to be close to leaders in their fields who are known for innovation. For example, several tech companies have recently established or expanded in Orlando, including Luminar, a company that is developing a new sensing technology platform to enable safe and fully autonomous vehicles with major automotive partners such as Volvo Cars and Toyota Research Institute.
Due to the influence of Disney and other entertainment leaders, Orlando now has strong industry hubs in the areas of IT, Electronics, IT and Communications, and Reality. virtual and augmented, not to mention a state of mind for innovative thinking and sharing. These technological resources, combined with the city’s exceptional infrastructure network, provide a dynamic business environment.
In fact, Orlando’s tech industry is the region’s second-largest business sector after tourism, contributing an estimated $ 14 billion annually to Orlando’s economy, a figure that is is expected to double in the next 10 years. The sector is driven by new developments in games, virtual and augmented reality, application and software development, modeling, simulation and training, healthcare IT and financial technologies. Orlando supports more than 2,000 technology companies, ranging from startups to large corporations employing hundreds of thousands of people. As a leader in modeling and simulation, Orlando now draws on this expertise for virtual reality innovations that impact education, health and defense.
Industries are also open to sharing ideas and collaborating on win / win projects. For example, Lockheed Martin’s heritage company Martin Marietta manufactured the first Walt Disney World monorail cars at the company’s facilities west of Orlando on Sand Lake Road in the 1970s.
“Our theme parks have worked hand in hand with the region’s modeling and simulation industry to create new physical worlds and virtual technologies, not only for our attractions but for a wide range of other areas,” including medical education and even sports applications. says Ken Potrock, president of Disney Consumer Products Commercialization and president of the Orlando Economic Partnership. “Our local colleges and universities respond to this engineering need with programs that include immediate career opportunities after graduation. Tourism has made Orlando a premier destination for business development, including world-renowned high-tech industrial clusters, a collaborative business environment, an energetic and entrepreneurial workforce, and modern transportation infrastructure.
As one of the most visited destinations in the world, Orlando is ideally placed to expose and acclimatize audiences to audiovisual technology. The Orlando, Central Florida Automated Vehicle Partnership was selected as one of 10 autonomous vehicle test groups designated by the US Department of Transportation.
Additionally, BRIDG, an industry-led public-private partnership for advanced sensors, photonics, and advanced nanoscale systems with a cleanroom laboratory / manufacturing facility, recently opened near the International Airport of ‘Orlando. Further research will focus on advanced semiconductors and photonic technologies.
Being a fun, top-notch destination city also prompts businesses to come to Orlando for meetings and conferences, adding value and excitement to the employee or customer experience. As a result, the city has become the country’s second-largest trade show destination. The Orange County Convention Center already attracts more than 230 events to the region, with approximately 1.5 million attendees contributing approximately $ 2.3 billion to the economy. To accommodate this expanding market, a new multi-purpose venue is planned for the convention center. This flexible, divisible, column-less 200,000 square foot space, with a combination of retractable and floor seating, will accommodate up to 20,000 guests.
“When industry leaders come here for meetings and conventions, they are exposed to a thriving business landscape that is experiencing tremendous growth across all sectors of the economy,” says Aguel. “It definitely puts us on the radar of companies looking for opportunities to expand into new markets.”
Infrastructure is the key to growth
To support the 72 million visitors who come to the city each year as well as its rapidly growing population, Orlando continues to expand its efficiency, modern infrastructure. This transportation network provides businesses with the reliable and efficient access they need to reach their destinations, including major national and global markets. This is made possible by Orlando’s three international airports, including Orlando International Airport, which handles nearly 45 million annual passengers and was ranked # 1 for customer service by JD Power & Associates.
“Transportation is essential for economic development because you need to be able to provide access for the movement of people and goods,” says Harry Barley, executive director of MetroPlan Orlando. “Investing in our transport infrastructure creates immediate value in jobs, but also long-term value with far greater consequences. “
An exceptional transport infrastructure is essential for companies that transport products or that need efficient means for their business trips. From commuter train service to highway systems to a multimodal hub, Orlando continues to invest in its transportation infrastructure, including:
- $ 2.3 billion for I-4 Ultimate, an overhaul of Interstate 4 that connects the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean
- All Aboard Florida’s $ 3.5 billion express train called Brightline from Orlando to Miami
- $ 3.5 billion renovation and expansion, including a new intermodal facility designed to connect to future Orlando International Airport rail systems
- $ 1.6 billion creation of the Wekiva Parkway, completing the Orlando ring road system
- $ 650 million expansion at Port Canaveral
- $ 800 million investment in SunRail, the region’s commuter rail system
- $ 50 million investment in coast-to-coast bike path
Tourism has made Orlando a premier destination for business development, including world-renowned high-tech industrial clusters, a collaborative business environment, an energetic and entrepreneurial workforce, and modern transportation infrastructure.
“Looking ahead, all I see is continued momentum across all lines of business,” says Potrock. “It’s an incredible time for central Florida. We have become one of the most dynamic regions in the country and a real magnet for innovation and new thinking, and this community has really just started to realize and believe in its enormous potential.