The Center of Hospitality has come a long way since we first opened our doors in 1983, when we were known as the Orange County Civic and Convention Center.
As we celebrate our 35th anniversary this year, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on our past and how we have changed and grown in the last three-plus decades.
From the days of welcoming artists like Madonna and Aerosmith to hosting the local stop of the circus, we have expanded our footprint from 177,113 square feet of exhibit and meeting space to the 7 million-square-foot facility we are today.
“I think the history of our Center is part of what makes us so special,” said Yulita Osuba, Deputy Director. “Orlando has seen our facility expand so much while the surrounding International Drive Tourism Corridor has grown with us.”
Our facility hosted 129 events in its first year, bringing 342,982 attendees to Orlando in 1983. Now, we’ve become the second-largest convention center in the country and the most sought after meeting destination.
In the last 35 years, more than 32 million people have attended shows and events on our campus, bringing an estimated economic impact of $34.9 billion to the Central Florida region.
While we have had a lot to celebrate in the last 35 years, we look toward to many more decades of success here on International Drive. Between having 748 definitive events booked through 2035 and many more that will contract with us, the Center of Hospitality is here to stay.
“Orange County Convention Center staff remain dedicated to delivering the customer service that separates us from the rest of the pack,” said Osuba. “We cannot wait to see what the next 35 years have in store for us.”
Convention Center District: Then & Now
Slide the bar to compare Orlando's Convention Center District as it appeared in 1978 to today.