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Orlando Tourism Industry Update, Casandra Matej, President & CEO, Visit Orlando

Aug 12, 2021

Casandra Matej is the president and CEO of Visit Orlando, the destination marketing organization of the most visited destination in the U.S. and Theme Park Capital of the World. She is responsible for leading the branding, marketing, and selling of the Orlando destination globally to drive Central Florida’s $75 billion tourism industry. The not-for-profit trade association also represents over 1,100 member companies.

Matej is the first female CEO in the organization’s 37-year history. She has been honored for her leadership in local communities and in national hospitality and meetings industries. She was awarded Ally of the Year by the San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce, recognized as a Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, and received the Women in Leadership Award from the San Antonio Business Journal.

Matej is an active leader engaged in driving tourism on national,

state, and local levels. She serves as a board member of the U.S. Travel Association nationally, and in the Orlando community, serves on the Orlando Economic Partnership Board of

Directors, Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association Board of Directors, and Air Team Orlando, which helps recruit and maintain air travel to the region.

Matej holds over two decades of experience in the tourism industry, including, prior to her Orlando role, as president and CEO of Visit San Antonio. Through her vision, Visit San Antonio achieved record highs in convention sales and marketing programs, united the destination’s visitor experience by developing one of the largest tourism ambassador programs in the country, and spearheaded the pursuit of a UNESCO World Heritage designation for San Antonio’s legendary Spanish colonial missions. She also has held leadership roles in both destination and corporate industry arenas, at organizations such as Visit Dallas, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Hyatt Hotels.

Her immediate focus is spurring recovery of the powerful Orlando tourism industry, which – in traditional years – draws over 75 million visitors to the region. Tourism is vital to the economic health of Central Florida and supports 41% of the local workforce.

Casandra Matej holds a Bachelor of Science in Speech Communications with a concentration in Organizational Communications from the University of Texas at Austin. She and her husband, Chris, are proud parents to John and Ellie Mae, and stepdaughters Madison and Carlie. In her spare time, Matej enjoys golf, boating, beach, and of course, theme park vacations with her family.

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