Obituary: Gary Sain, 61, president and CEO of Visit Orlando since 2007

Gary Sain, the president and CEO of Visit Orlando, the convention and visitors organization for the city and Orange County area of Florida, died May 4. He was 61.

During Sain's tenure as chief of Visit Orlando, the city recorded a record 51.5 million visitors in 2010, the first U.S. destination to break the 50-million-visitor milestone, Visit Orlando said.

Sain "served as our community's brand ambassador, working tirelessly on behalf of Orlando and the entire tourism industry," Paul Tang, chairman of Visit Orlando's board, said in a statement.

Sain joined Visit Orlando in 2007 from Ypartnership, now MMGY Global, where he was executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

"I often joked with Gary that he was the hardest-working man in the travel industry," said Peter Yesawich, the vice chairman of MMGY. "At his desk every day by 6 a.m., he had a relentless focus on ensuring his daily to-do list was wiped clean by the time he departed that evening.

"His creativity and passion for what he did were an inspiration to all who had the pleasure of working for and with him," Yesawich added.

Sain also held executive positions at Premier Cruise Line, Hyatt Hotels and Ritz-Carlton, among other companies.

Participation with industry organizations and boards included the U.S. Travel Association, Brand USA, Visit Florida and the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association.

"The industry has lost a true leader whose passion for travel and tourism was second to none," U.S. Travel CEO Roger Dow said. "His presence on the U.S. Travel executive committee and board has been instrumental in helping advance a host of industry initiatives, from travel promotion and visa reform to promoting the value of meetings to elevating the production of international Pow Wow."

Sain is survived by his wife, Pam, and two daughters, Vanessa San-Dieguez and Olivia.

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