As major travel destinations such as New York City and Las Vegas begin relaxing restrictions and re-opening for tourism, Orlando is approaching its one-year anniversary as what local tourism leaders call the nation’s frontrunner for creating safe and successful tourism experiences. Because Governor Ron DeSantis never locked down the state and promoted Florida as “open” and “free” around the country, travel and tourism has remained high through the COVID-19 pandemic with no signs of slowing down.
The summer travel outlook for Orlando is expected to be extremely strong based on traveler sentiment. Orlando is also leading the return of meetings and conventions, with growing interest. Based on confirmed events at the Orange County Convention Center, attendance this year could reach 73% of 2019 attendance, when national projections on recovery for the meetings industry are at 35% of 2019 levels. Earlier this month, Visit Orlando hosted its first live, in-person event to share the latest outlook for summer travel, and new consumer travel trends from respected research firm Destination Analysts.
“Our research is showing that Americans are ready to travel again,” said Erin Francis-Cummings, president and CEO of Destination Analysts. “We are seeing that 87% of American travelers expect to take a trip this summer, which is more than double the percent that took a trip in the summer of 2020. Orlando is seeing extremely strong interest with 51% of respondents saying they are considering the destination for 2021.”
“For Orlando, we are seeing several key indicators trending in very positive directions,” said Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. “Our region’s meetings sector is outpacing the national recovery forecast at double the expected rate, and lodging demand surged 50% from February to March due to a successful spring break. Orlando’s strong reputation for safety, unique outdoor experiences and family connectedness appears to be really resonating with consumers making plans right now, helping propel Orlando to the destination of choice for summer.”
After a successful spring break period with Orlando occupancy rates climbing to their highest levels since February 2020, May occupancy may potentially dip, following a typical seasonal pattern for travelers. Summer travel is expected to be strong based on growing traveler sentiment, growing domestic seat capacity at Orlando International Airport and accumulated personal savings to pay for travel.
In addition, Orlando has several new openings for visitors this summer including Jurassic World VelociCoaster opening June 10th at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort opening a new 14-story hotel tower, Walt Disney World Swan Reserve. White Castle opened its largest location in the world on May 3rd and celebrity Chef Gordan Ramsay announced that Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips will open its first location outside of Las Vegas at ICON Park this summer. Need help? Check out a local Orlando travel advisor.
Visit Orlando expects a busy summer season!