Touting the tag line “Orlando Makes Me Smile”, Visit Orlando president and CEO Gary Sain announced at Pow Wow last week that the city was 2011’s most visited destination in the U.S.
54.3 million people visited Orlando last year, making it the first destination in history to reach over 50 million visitors. This number is expected to increase to 55 million by the end of 2012.
International visitors were on the rise as well at 3.79 million with Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico and Columbia providing the highest rates of traffic to the city.
“The continued success of Orlando’s tourism industry has been accomplished through aggressive marketing despite global economic challenges, strong collaborations throughout the travel industry including with our theme parks, the airport, airlines and the worldwide travel trade, and the continued development of a one-of-a-kind Orlando holiday experience,” Mr Sain said.
Orlando International Airport is focusing on becoming a model port for the U.S. with enhanced services and programs including increased customer service with designated ambassadors speaking six languages (Arabic, French, German, Portugese, Russian and Spanish), new signage and more efficient processing.
“Already this year, Orlando has added flights from British Airways and Monarch in the United Kingdom, Monarch and LAN Airlines from Chile and GOL airline in Brazil,” Mr Sain said.
“We will continue to work with airlines around the globe to provide options for travellers to get to Orlando easily and to offer unmatched hospitality to our country upon their arrival.”
Whilst Australia does not currently rank as a popular international market for the city, a spokesperson for Visit Orlando told e-Travel Blackboard that they are keeping their eye on the nation for any sign of increased visitation.
“Not many Australians are currently travelling to Orlando but we are hoping that this will change in the same way that is has for other cities within the U.S. As soon as it does, then we will look into marketing activities specifically directed to that market.”
USD$4 billion is planned on new attractions and hotels in Orlando including the first-of-its-kind ‘Turtle Trek’ and ‘Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin’ at SeaWorld Orlando, ‘Despicable Me’ at Universal Orlando Resort, Art of Animation Resort and Four Seasons Hotel at Walt Disney World Resort and the Fantasyland expansion at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.A