Doubling the visits over the past two decades, Orlando in Florida announced 66 million tourists in 2015. With India, the second fastest growing country for outbound departures, being an important market, the destination is introducing new experiences such as theme parks to boost the tourism even further.
Visit Orlando, the official tourism association for one of the most visited destinations in the United States (US) with representation in more than a dozen countries in the world, announced that in 2015, 66.1 million people visited the city. Tourism in Orlando that has been growing at 5.5 pc since 2014 more than doubled over the past 20 years, growing from 32.4 million in 1995. Since 1995, Orlando’s hotel inventory grew by more than 37 percent, topping 117,000 rooms in 2015. Passengers at Orlando International Airport increased by more than 72 percent, reaching 38,809,337 in 2015.
However, countries like India do not have direct flight to destination Florida and hence have to depend on indirect routes via the Middle East. India, being the second most populous country and the second fastest growing country for outbound departures with GDP growing at an annual rate of 5-6 pc, is an important market for the US. Notably, after the Middle East, US is the top long haul destination for Indians. In 2014, nearly 50,000 Indians travelled to Orlando, an increase from 46,000 the previous year and spent nearly USD 79 million as opposed to USD 78 million in 2013. Nearly 32 pc of the tourists indicate the main purpose of the trip was to visit friends or family.
Visit Orlando announced the record-breaking achievement at its annual travel & tourism luncheon, a celebration of Orlando’s tourism community, attended by more than 800 tourism and community leaders. The event was held during the 33rd annual National Travel and Tourism Week, which unites communities each year to celebrate what travel means to American jobs, economic growth and personal well-being.
“Reaching more than 66 million visitors to Orlando is an amazing accomplishment for our tourism community,” said Visit Orlando president and CEO George Aguel. “This new milestone and rapid growth over the past two decades is a result of having a tourism industry and community partners that are focused on growth and investment, dedication to the needs of our visitors and the global marketing and sales efforts of our Visit Orlando team and member companies.”
A record 33 million room nights were sold in Orlando in 2015, resulting in record tourist development tax collections topping USD 230 million in Orange County, Florida, home to the Central Florida tourism district.
“We’re so proud to break another national record and again be named the top visitor destination for the US,” said Teresa Jacobs, Orange County Mayor, Florida. “With our superb convention center and culture of hospitality, world-class theme parks, family-friendly entertainment and luxury dining and lodging amenities, it’s no surprise that Central Florida remains the top destination for business, family and leisure guests.”
“Orlando has reached yet another historic milestone with more than 66 million visitors in 2015—a significant achievement for Orlando and the U.S. travel industry,” said US Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow. “The region’s remarkable commitment to travel and tourism—with especial kudos to Visit Orlando, its tourism community members, and the leadership of local public officials—enabled it to hit yet another visitation record.”
In the past two decades, significant openings and expansions have continued to reinforce Orlando as the theme park capital of the world and a leading convention destination. Orlando also established a robust lineup of luxury offerings to meet the needs of travellers seeking five-star service and amenities and downtown Orlando experienced a renaissance with new arts and sports venues. The destination emerged as a thriving culinary destination, garnering consistent James Beard Award nominations for local chefs while also attracting internationally-praised celebrity chefs with new culinary concepts.