Universal Orlando opening 5th hotel

AP File Photo

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Universal Orlando is opening its fifth hotel that’s aimed at attracting more convention bookings.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that tropical-themed Sapphire Falls Resort will open Thursday with 1,000 rooms. It will have 115,000 square feet of space for meetings and events and a covered walkway to another hotel’s conference area.

The Sentinel reports that Universal now advertises almost 300,000 square feet of meeting space throughout its Orlando hotels.

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The dean of the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, Abraham Pizam, says the average convention guest spends up to four times as much as the average leisure tourist.

Orange County Convention Center Executive Director Kathie Canning says the county’s 2 million-square-foot convention facility expects to add Sapphire Falls to the list of hotels it works with to book rooms for larger events.

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