Visit Orlando Chair Paul Mears III today named George Armando Aguel president and CEO of the organization.
“George is an incredibly accomplished industry leader, with extensive experience in both leisure and business travel,” Mears said. “His knowledge of the meetings and conventions industry, as well as his relationships throughout the travel and tourism segment, matches perfectly with the criteria that our search committee identified as priorities.”
Aguel—a former MPI chairman—brings a tremendous amount of experience to his new role at Visit Orlando, including more than 35 years of executive-level experience in sales and marketing. Most recently as senior vice president of Global Corporate Alliances and Operating Participants at The Walt Disney Co., he led worldwide management for the company’s strategic corporate alliance agreements across all business units of the company. Aguel also served as senior vice president of Worldwide Sales and Services for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for 22 years. His responsibilities included catering sales and operations, convention services, national and international sales offices, trade marketing, Disney Cruise Line charter and incentive business, as well as internal corporate meetings and events. He was also general manager of The Disney Institute, which provides professional development training and consulting services to a diverse audience of domestic and multinational corporate brands.
“Orlando is a world-class destination and the Visit Orlando team is highly respected amongst its peers and the industry," Aguel said. "I’m looking forward to working with the team and to have the opportunity to represent the destination and the company."
Throughout his career, Aguel has proven himself to be a leader in the industry, as well as in the community. He has twice been recognized as one of the “25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing” by Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International. He is among a select group of industry professionals to receive the Academy of Leaders Award from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and be inducted into the Convention Liaison Council Hall of Leaders. He’s also an ASAE Fellow and recipient of the Professional Convention Management Association Professional Achievement Award and the APEX award from Black Meetings & Tourism.
Aguel’s contributions to Central Florida include two years as chairman of Visit Orlando (2009-2010), vice chairman of the Central Florida Sports Commission and past member of the Orange County Tourist Development Council. He’s also a past recipient of the Metro Orlando Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Don Quixote Award.
“After nearly 23 years as an Orlando resident, my desire to serve this community has never been stronger,” Aguel said. “The Visit Orlando team leads the industry in collaborating with member partners and community partners to market our region around the globe. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to lead this highly respected team toward ensuring that Orlando not only remains the vibrant travel brand it is today, but continues to be positioned for prosperity in the decades to come.”
Aguel’s initial responsibilities will include developing strong relationships with Visit Orlando board of directors and staff, member partners, regional business leaders and elected officials, as well as gaining an immediate and deep understanding of the organization’s three-year strategic plan.
Congratulations, George! And be sure and check out the best advice he's ever received from our May 2010 issue of One+.