Orlando welcomed a record breaking 51.455 Million visitors in 2010; a double-digit growth over 2009. Even though the numbers of 2009 were depressed by the economy, that’s still pretty impressive. With this record, Orlando is the first destination in the country to welcome more than 50 million visitors and remains the most visited destination in the U.S.
Congratulations to everyone involved in keeping the convention and tourism business flowing into Orlando. You’re keeping the Central Florida economy afloat. This despite the best efforts of the new Governor who refuses to spend money to build up business and tourism infrastructure and the TSA who erects as many barriers to civilized international travel as humanly possible. Still, I never had a doubt you could do it.
Click below the jump to find out how Orlando overcame the obstacles:
Most of the coordination of these efforts has come through the Visit Orlando organization (formerly the Convention and Visitors Bureau). To attract visitors throughout 2010, Visit Orlando initiated new marketing campaigns in its top feeder markets – the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Brazil – reinforcing the tagline, “Orlando Makes Me Smile.” A new meetings and conventions marketing effort touted Orlando as the destination “Where Inspiration Meets.” Visit Orlando also showcased the destination’s offerings to thousands of tour operators and travel professionals at numerous key travel industry trade shows throughout North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia and was instrumental in driving additional air service to Orlando from domestic and Central and Latin America carriers.
You also have to thanks the pencil pushers at NBCUniversal who approved the budget to build the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Universal Orlando earned back the cost of that budget item in less than a year and the resort and Orlando will continue to reap the benefits for years to come.
“Despite the challenging economic times, the Orlando tourism and meetings community continued to invest in new hotels and attractions. Visit Orlando launched aggressive global marketing campaigns showcasing that Orlando offers visitors something they can’t get anywhere else – world famous attractions, value for their money and an experience they will never forget,” said Gary Sain, President & CEO, Visit Orlando, speaking to an audience of worldwide media at the annual International Pow Wow conference organized by the U.S. Travel Association. “The fact that Orlando bounced back in 2010 with the most visitation in not only Orlando’s history, but the most of any U.S. destination, shows our aggressive leisure and meetings strategies worked and our message resonated with travelers.”
“This is a positive sign for our region and our residents; as travel and tourism goes so does Orlando’s economy,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “The tourism industry supports approximately 400,000 jobs for Orlando residents, which generates $13.6 billion in wages. This news is a win win for our residents and our community.”
“Travel and Tourism is our number one economic engine by far. It also gives back to our community through support of the arts, education and community organizations,” said City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “These numbers are tremendous. For our region to continue its recovery, we need for our Travel and Tourism economy to lead the way.”