Jack and Jill of America returns to Orlando for first in-person convention since 2018

The scenery in one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations looks drastically different now than it did two years ago.

"Being here to see the warm smiles, to finally get a chance to hug each other after being apart for so long, it just has made a world of difference," Kornisha Brown, national president of Jack and Jill of America Inc. explains. She says the pandemic forced them to move to a virtual convention in 2020. 

This is the first time the organization is meeting in person since 2018.

"But now, business is picking up, and I’m glad to see it," Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond explains. Just two weeks ago, Vice President Kamala Harris visited the City Beautiful to join her sorority sisters at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority National Convention. 

This week law enforcement’s NOBLE Annual Training Conference is also happening in Orlando. Thanks to the Tourist Development Tax, the 6% tax anyone staying in an Orlando hotel pays, events like these bring a major boost to our local economy. 

Diamond says, "It’s typically tens of millions of dollars from each of these conventions, you know, they may bring in 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 guests and those guests are all going to stay in a hotel for several nights."

Money from the Tourist Development Tax fund things like maintenance and renovations at the Orange County Convention Center, tourism promotion, and entertainment venues. This month, the Orange County Comptroller’s office reported $28,053,400 in Tourist Development Tax collections for May 2022. According to the county, this is a 65.8% increase over May 2021. But, month-over-month, May collections were lower than April’s by $6.6 million.  

Diamond adds, "Those are still either record or close to record numbers."