ShareThis Page
Still most visited place, Orlando had 75 million visitors | TribLIVE.com
Travel

Still most visited place, Orlando had 75 million visitors

Associated Press
1136435_web1_AP19129668675738
AP
In this Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 photo near a statue of Walt Disney and Micky Mouse, guests at watch a show in front of the Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Disney is eliminating smoking areas at its theme and water parks in California and Florida. The company said in a statement on Thursday that smoking also won’t be allowed at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex or Downtown Disney in California starting May 1.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando had 75 million visitors last year as the theme park mecca continued to be the most visited destination in the United States, tourism officials said Thursday.

Orlando in 2018 had 68.5 million domestic visitors, a year-to-year increase of 4.1%, and almost 6.5 million international visitors, a year-to-year increase of 5.4%.

The overall 4.2% increase over 2017 figures was slightly smaller than the previous year-to-year increase of 5%. But there was a robust return of international visitors, a segment that had softened in previous years.

The international improvement was driven by Latin American visitors, especially from Brazil and Mexico, said George Aguel, CEO of Visit Orlando, the area’s tourism marketing agency.

“When folks are thinking about what they can and can’t do, we try to market why this is a good place for them to come. We focus on the feeling you get when you come here,” Aguel said. “There really is no place in the country … where you have the ability to make a connection emotionally. We play a lot on the memories we create.”

Orlando has been in the middle of a years-long expansion of rides and hotel rooms.

Accommodation expansion is at a 20-year high. The metro area already has more than 120,000 hotel rooms, the second highest in the nation behind only Las Vegas.

Additionally, attractions at the area’s theme parks are opening at a break-neck pace.

In 2017, a new water park, Volcano Bay, opened at Universal Orlando, and a new section, Pandora-The World of Avatar, opened at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.

Last year, Disney World opened a Toy Story Land.

Disney World is opening a Star Wars-themed land in August, SeaWorld debuted a Sesame Street land this spring and Universal Orlando is opening a new Harry Potter-themed ride this summer.

“We think it will help us carry over in 2020,” Aguel said. “A lot of these things start to kick in the following year.”

Categories: Lifestyles | Travel
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.