Visit Orlando CEO Sain Leaves "Great Legacy"
The death of Visit Orlando president and CEO Gary Sain, last week has left a gap that tourism experts say will be hard to fill. Sain collapsed Friday night after giving a speech at a Boys and Girls Club fundraiser.
Gary Sain was 61 years old.
He had led the Orlando / Orange County Convention and Visitor's Bureau since 2007.
Duncan Dixon, assistant professor at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, says Sain not only renamed the bureau, he brought new energy to the region's main tourism marketing agency.
Dr. Dixon says the fact that 54 million people visited Orlando last year, in a down economy, is a testament to his work.
He says it's a hard act to follow.
“It’ll be tough to find somebody at that level. I’m sure there are people out there who will be able to fill it, but it will be a difficult search," says Dixon.
"He leaves a great legacy but he also leaves a huge hole- in our hearts as well as in the business model.”
Dr. Dixon says one of Sain’s strengths was the legion of people who believed in what he was doing.