CHICAGO — Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel announced that Orlando welcomed 59 million visitors in calendar year 2013, setting an all-time record for U.S. destinations.
The record-breaking figure represents a 3% increase over the previous milestone set in 2012.
The news was made at IPW here, the premier international travel conference hosting more than 6,000 buyers, suppliers and media.
“We are so pleased to announce this incredibly exciting news on the closing day of IPW 2014, when travel industry professionals around the world shift their sights toward next year’s IPW event in Orlando,” said Aguel. “Thanks to the strong global marketing and sales efforts of our team at Visit Orlando and the leadership of our tourism members and community leaders who share a common vision for our destination, Orlando continues to lead the nation as its most visited destination.”
Orlando is experiencing one of the most significant expansion periods in the destination’s history. Universal Orlando Resort will open the world’s first centrally themed, multi-park experience this summer by expanding The Wizarding World of Harry Potter across both of its theme parks. SeaWorld Orlando recently opened Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin – the biggest expansion in its company’s history, while Walt Disney World Resort will complete a multiyear project that is doubling the size of Fantasyland when it debuts the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coaster this summer.
If that was not enough, a variety of additional attractions and enhancements to the popular retail, dining and entertainment districts are underway. By 2017, Orlando will be among the first destinations with on-airport intermodal facilities in the U.S. and the first airport in Florida to conveniently support air travel, ground transportation and rail.
To help the travel trade understand how to benefit from the news coming out of the destination, Visit Orlando has launched an enhanced Orlando Travel Academy. Travel agents around the globe can use this online tool to help boost their knowledge of Orlando and support their clients’ travel planning efforts. More information on specific resources for travel professionals, including collateral, sales aids and the Orlando Travel Academy online training tool can be found on Visit Orlando’s travel trade site, VisitOrlando.com/trade.