December 29, 2020 — Visit Orlando today announced the hiring of new President and Chief Executive Officer Casandra Matej to lead the destination marketing organization of the most visited destination in the country.
The not-for-profit trade association is responsible for branding, marketing and selling the Orlando destination globally to attract leisure visitors and meetings and convention business for local economic impact. Its members represent 1,200 companies comprising every segment of Central Florida’s tourism community.
Matej brings over two decades of experience in the tourism industry, including most recently serving as president and CEO of Visit San Antonio as a leading figure in the development of the region’s hospitality industry. Under her leadership, Visit San Antonio achieved record highs in convention sales and marketing programs, and united the destination’s visitor experience by developing one of the largest tourism ambassador programs in the country. She also has previously served as an industry leader in both destination and corporate arenas, including VisitDallas, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Hyatt Hotels.
“It’s amazing to have someone as talented and seasoned as Cassandra take the helm at Visit Orlando,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “We at Orange County Government welcome the entire Matej family to Central Florida, and look forward to continuing the vision and spirit of innovation, collaboration and inclusion with Cassandra and the team at Visit Orlando.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Casandra in this significant leadership role for Orlando’s tourism industry,” said Brian Comes, chairman of the board for Visit Orlando. “She is known in the industry as a strategic leader with an ability to collaborate throughout the region, and her energy, vision and industry experience will be especially critical as our destination moves to recover from this challenging time.”
Matej has long been an active leader driving tourism on national, state and local levels, currently serving on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Travel Association and formerly Destinations International, as well as past chairman of the Texas Travel Industry Association. Meetings & Conventions Magazine named her to its list of Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry. In addition to numerous awards across tourism, she also has been recognized for supporting local business, women in leadership, and philanthropic communities.
“Orlando is the epicenter for all things travel and tourism, and I look forward to representing this incredible destination where imagination comes to life,” said Matej. “I am honored to have been part of the seismic changes that united and grew the unique San Antonio tourism industry, and to now serve the Orlando destination, which is recognized around the world for its spirit of innovation and collaboration. It is crucial that Orlando thrives not only locally but in healing the nation, and I am excited about working with the Visit Orlando professionals to make a difference for the industry and community.”
Matej assumes her new position Feb. 1 and will soon be joined by her husband and two children as they relocate to Orlando.