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ORLANDO-Desperate to rejuvenate metro Orlando’s sagging hospitality industry, the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau kicks off a $10.5 million advertising and promotion campaign in January, aimed primarily at Southeastern cities within driving distance to the area’s attractions.

Atlanta, Charlotte and Miami are where the bureau hopes its ad dollars will generate fresh hotel and retail revenue in the first half of next year, according to a blueprint outlined by bureau president Bill Peeper at the group’s annual meeting. The bureau will be spending $7 million or about 95% of its total $7.5 million budget for 2002 in the Southeast.

Another $3.5 million from Visit Florida Inc., the state’s marketing agency, will be spent to blitz Great Britain. Visit Florida Inc. itself plans to spend a total $20 million on cooperative advertising campaigns from January to June.

The bureau will spend an undetermined amount in the second half on a joint marketing campaign with the Kissimmee-St. Cloud Convention & Visitors Bureau which will be targeting Canada.

“Everybody in the hospitality industry is hurting at this time so this plan is coming at the right time for the Orlando area,” a hotelier in the once tourist-heavy International Drive sector of south Orlando tells GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity.

“Aiming the campaign at driving time rather than flying time makes good sense, given the continued risk of terrorist activity at many American airports right now.”

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