How Orlando Became the Most Traveled City in the U.S.
27th Mar 2012
Orlando, Florida recently became the first U.S. market to break the 50-million annual visitor mark, and the city managed it in the face of a seemingly inescapable recession and the surprisingly deep slump in the travel industry. This isn’t to say Orlando didn’t suffer from the downed economy—because it did—but in recent years the number of people flocking back for leisure activities has been nothing short of incredible. Even New York can’t keep up with Orlando’s drawing power, so the question has to be asked: how did Orlando do it?
Tourism can provide a huge boost to a city, and Orlando relies on visitors coming to see the sights more heavily than most. The amount of revenue generated in this industry directly impacts almost everything else in the city, and this is why they dedicate so much time and effort toward making Orlando “the place to go.”
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Or perhaps the better question is: why not Orlando? Between the sun, the fun, and the theme parks, there’s something for everyone. Beaches, sports, shopping, themed accommodations, fine dining, and an active nightlife round out the perfect vacation spot for families, couples, or spring-break travelers.
Is It All Because of a Mouse?
When you think of Orlando, do you immediately picture Walt Disney World? Then you’re not alone. Between Mickey, Goofy, and enough Princesses to make even the best genealogist wonder how that royal succession is supposed to work, this is where countless wonderful childhood memories are made.
The key for Orlando, though, was not letting a single theme have a monopoly on childhood memories (though, strangely, there are no Monopoly themes). While Disney World is still the most popular attraction, SeaWorld, LEGOLAND, and the Universal Orlando Resort (which includes the Wizarding World of Harry Potter), also continue to grow and attract new visitors every year.
The Key Is Growth
A mouse can only carry you so far. Soon you will want to see new things and the best attractions and accommodations one year seem like old news the next. The city of Orlando has never been content to leave things “as is” and is a big proponent of the “if you build it, they will come” philosophy of theme parks.
This year alone will see some large additions to most of the major parks in and around Orlando. SeaWorld is adding a 3D/360-degree theater experience for total immersion in the story.
Orlando Resort is constructing a new attraction based on the popular movie Despicable Me, and Magic Kingdom Fantasy Land will be doubling in addition to the new Princess Fairytale Hall and two other attractions.
These are not places that passively sit back and hope a few small improvements in the economy will lead to major increases in their bottom line. They are looking for new ways to attract new visitors, and they’re willing to take a risk and make an investment to see it happen.
Affordable and Accommodating
Despite all this growth, and the highly desirable nature of the area, Orlando has managed to keep its prices comparatively low. While New York is also one of the most traveled cities in the country, it is by far the most expensive place (according to Hotels.com® Hotel Price Index™) to visit. Orlando, on the other hand, doesn’t even rank in the top 20 most expensive. Whether you’re traveling as a large or small group, there’s a good chance you can fit it into your budget.
There are accommodations throughout the city for almost anyone, with more than 450 Orlando hotels offering a combined 115,200 guestrooms. And if that’s not your thing, you could always check into one of the 26,000 vacation home rentals or 20,000 vacation ownership units.
Orlando has become one of the most sought out cities for vacation because it has what it takes to make visitors feel right at home.
Visit our Orlando hotel deals page to start planning your vacation and for more on the attractions and offerings Orlando brings to the table we would also recommend visiting the Local Expert for deals and information.
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