Top Takeaways: The 2020 State of I-Drive is Dynamic
There is a strong appeal to International Drive, whether it is the impressive economic and tourism impact, its educational opportunities, or its diversity in development.
To celebrate this growth and vision, Orange County Mayor Demings hosted the inaugural State of I-Drive on January 31, 2020 at the Orange County Convention Center. The event was co-hosted by the I-Drive Improvement District and had nearly 400 attendees from across the spectrum of the hospitality and tourism industries. If you missed it, here are five key takeaways from the State of I-Drive:
I-Drive Equals a Dynamic Vision and Growth
International Drive (I-Drive) is an 11-mile area, which stretches from South Orlando to the tourism corridor of unincorporated Orange County. Some fast facts on I-Drive:
- It is vital to the overall economic success of our region, as it hosts more than 75,000 workers
- Currently, there is $2 billion worth of development in progress
- In 2018, the total visitation to I-Drive was more than 14.8 million … equaling about 20 percent of the total Central Florida area visitation of 75 million
The Convention Center: The Center of Hospitality … and Economic Impact
The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) hosted 1.5 million attendees last year, which left a $3 billion economic impact in Central Florida. That represents approximately $2,200 dollars in economic impact per attendee.
As part of the County’s Corporate Social Responsibility Programs, the Center has donated more than $2.3 million worth of goods to local organizations. For example, the Global Pet Expo donated pet supplies worth $60,000 to the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando.
To meet the expanded needs of clients, OCCC design plans are also underway for a $605-million expansion of the Convention Center’s North/South building, which will break ground in the fall of 2020. The expansion will ultimately bring total exhibit space at the Convention Center to 2.3 million square feet.
Partnership is Key
I-Drive is home to some of the world’s best hotels and restaurants that provide a one-of-a-kind experience for guests. Part of that “I-Drive experience” is to ensure that visitors feel welcome and safe. In 2018, an ambassador program was created through a partnership between the I-Drive Business Improvement District and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to provide visitor’s information, direct traffic and augment services provided by local law enforcement.
Also in the area, the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management is located on Universal Boulevard. It is renowned as one of the finest schools of hospitality in the United States and it is making a lasting impact on I-Drive.
I-Drive and a Ready Workforce
Not to be overshadowed, Mayor Demings stressed his commitment for Orange County to be part of the affordable housing solution so that residents can have the options they need to live and work near their employment.
Last month, Universal Orlando announced that they will make 20 acres of land available to Orange County for roughly 1,000 future workforce, Housing for All units. In addition, three acres will be developed for a hub for mass transit.
In May of last year, Universal Orlando announced plans to build “Epic Universe,” a multi-billion dollar project that will employ more than 14,000 workers at a starting wage of 15 dollars per hour.The park is projected to open in 2023.
Pointe Orlando is completing a $32-million redevelopment and renovation of the complex, projected to be completed this summer. Furthermore, there are 18 new hotel projects underway with completion dates between now and 2024.
So, whether someone is attending a conference, visiting theme parks or just looking to have dinner at one of the outstanding restaurants in the area, our goal is to make their visit to I-Drive a memorable and a safe experience.
Watch the full presentation below.