Experience Kissimmee Celebrates The Season & Going Off The Beaten Path
with Kerry Sharpe
Edith Ferguson from Experience Kissimmee
Tina is already getting into the festive spirit
Experience Kissimmee, together with a number of its partners, was in Toronto on 26SEPT wrapping up a three-city Canadian tour that also stopped in Halifax and Montreal.
Designed to further raise the profile of not only the city itself, but also the wide array of things to do beyond the amusement parks, Experience Kissimmee was also highlighting the upcoming holiday season, just as Canadian minds start to turn to escaping winter.
Joined by Reunion Resort, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Clarion Suites Maingate, VHC Homes, Wild Florida, Ramada by Wyndham Kissimmee Gateway, Encore Resort at Reunion, and Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park, the networking event was being used as an opportunity to share “what Kissimmee can offer.”
“We’re doing so well with Canadians, especially travel agents – they book so much business [to Kissimmee],” said Edith Ferguson, sales manager, North America for Experience Kissimmee. “Year to date, as of June 2018, Kissimmee was up 16.7% over last year for Canadian visitors. We were concerned about [the impact of] the exchange rate, but people are still coming because we have so much to offer.”
And it’s that forward momentum that Experience Kissimmee wants to keep going. “Our message is what we offer,” continued Ferguson. “Kissimmee is right there, right next to Disney and all of the attractions, but we also have so much eco-tourism – we want to spread that word. A lot of Canadians come to the Orlando/Kissimmee area so many times and they’ve been to the theme parks – so what else is there to do? Well, it’s all in our backyard.”
Highlighting the 22,000 vacation homes available in Kissimmee, in addition to the many hotel rooms, the event focused on the tremendous choice and value available in the destination, especially during the upcoming holiday season.
“The holiday season is a completely different experience,” said Juliana Cadiz, communications senior manager for Experience Kissimmee. “Disney, Universal, SeaWorld have amazing holiday décor and special events.”
Cadiz also focused on the Canadian market: “Canada is such an important market for us here at Experience Kissimmee that we have to come every year in person and talk about our destination and all the great things that we have – from airboat rides and tree trek adventures to amazing luxury resorts and vacation homes,” pointing out that Kissimmee is the “Vacation Home Capital of the World – you can find two-bedroom homes to 17-bedroom homes with a bowling alley and a lazy river.”
The same wide array of choice exists for Canadians looking to get down to Kissimmee. “No other market has more direct flights to Orlando [than Canada],” said Cadiz, pointing to the launch of Swoop’s direct flights from Hamilton to Orlando in OCT, in addition to flights with Flair Airlines, Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing.
Here are some other holiday highlights from Experience Kissimmee:
Walt Disney World, 8NOV-30DEC: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, Flurry of Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, seasonal fun at the new Toy Story Land, Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays;
Universal Orlando Resort, 17NOV-6JAN: Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the GrinchmasWho-liday Spectacular, Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s;
Disney Springs, 8NOV-5JAN: Holiday shopping, dining and entertainment, including Christmas Tree Trail, Santa’s Chalet and Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt;
Now Snowing in Celebration, 24NOV-31DEC: A nightly snowfall, carolers, ice rink, live music, and more;
Festival of Lights Parade on 8DEC in downtown Kissimmee;
Holidays at Old Town 23NOV-25DEC, featuring a 40’ Christmas tree, a snowfall every weekend, festive decorations and more.
The Kissimmee delegation was in town to promote the holiday season
Kerry Sharpe Columnist
Having worked in travel for the last 16 years, Kerry has experience covering the industry as media, as well as being under its lens when she worked for Thomas Cook, TravelBrands and itravel2000. A new mom, Kerry recently returned to the workforce and when she’s not chasing after her daughter, you’ll see her out and about covering industry events alongside her new BFF Tina the Travel Agent.