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Do recent events impact perception of Orlando as a safe destination for tourists?


A major night club shooting and a string of recent car burglaries at international drive hotels have led to some vibrations through the Orlando tourism industry. I was interviewed today for a short piece on the local news and asked if I thought the current incidents would keep tourists away.

For me, it comes down to what will generate news coverage and bad word of mouth where tourists live. We know from Walt Disney’s philosophy of customer service, that if you treat guests well, they’ll go home and tell their family and friends, but if they have a bad experience they’ll tell everyone. That effect is only amplified with the word of mouth strength of social media.

Orlando is doing something right. There are more visitors than ever coming to Orlando. Over 60 million for business and tourism last year and Orlando International airport is greeting more air travelers with expansion plans already underway that include a new terminal and high speed rail connections. It’s getting to the point where I’ve lost track of the huge investments underway in local infrastructure and at the theme parks.


If shootings and car break-ins continue to generate some bad word of mouth for Orlando, I am certain there will a significant effort by Disney, Universal, the tourism industry, and the state and local officials to make sure word gets out that Orlando is a safe place to visit.

I think tourists are smart enough to know that there’s a big difference between what happens off the beaten path versus at one of the major resorts or hotels. What does disturb me are when we see a string of burglaries as those are more likely to leave tourists with a bad memory associated with Orlando. Worse case scenario means they’ll not only never return, but will tell their friends too.

Tell us how you’re feeling about recent events in Orlando.

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