Visit Orlando has appointed Casandra Matej as president and CEO, effective Feb. 1, 2021. Matej brings more than two decades of experience in the tourism industry to her new role at the Florida convention and visitors bureau, most recently serving as president and CEO of Visit San Antonio in Texas.
“We are thrilled to welcome her into this significant leadership role, as she is known in the industry as a strategic leader with an ability to collaborate throughout the region,” said Brian Comes, area vice president of the Hyatt Regency Orlando and chair of Visit Orlando’s board of directors, in a message to members yesterday. “Her energy, vision and industry experience will be especially critical as our destination moves to recover from this challenging time.”
Matej takes over the position that was most recently held by former Disney executive George Aguel, who retired from Visit Orlando back in August.
Joining Visit San Antonio as executive director in 2011, Matej was promoted to president and CEO in 2017. Under her leadership, the city achieved record highs in convention sales and marketing programs, and developed one of the largest tourism-ambassador programs in the country. Prior to that, she held influential roles at VisitDallas, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Hyatt Hotels.
"It’s amazing to have someone as talented and seasoned as Casandra take the helm at Visit Orlando," said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings in a statement praising the appointment. "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.”
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. In 2017, was named among the Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry by Meetings & Conventions. In addition to numerous awards across tourism, Matej 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,” Matej noted on her appointment. “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 begins her new job on Feb. 1, and will soon be joined by her husband and two children as they relocate to Orlando.