Or­lando was top US tourist des­ti­na­tion in 2014: of­fi­cials

The China Post - - MARKETS - BY MIKE SCH­NEI­DER

More than 62 mil­lion vis­i­tors came to Or­lando last year, mak­ing the theme-park mecca the most-vis­ited tourist des­ti­na­tion in the U.S., city tourism of­fi­cials said Thurs­day.

The 2014 vis­i­tor count sets a new mile­stone for the U.S. tourism in­dus­try and was a 5 per­cent in­crease from the pre­vi­ous year, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal tourism agency Visit Or­lando.

In a state­ment, U.S. Travel As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent and CEO Roger Dow called pass­ing the mark of 60 mil­lion vis­i­tors a year “a sig- nif­i­cant achieve­ment for Or­lando and the U.S. travel in­dus­try.”

Of­fi­cials with Or­lando’s clos­est com­peti­tor in tourism num­bers, New York City, said that while the Florida des­ti­na­tion had more tourists over­all, the Big Ap­ple still was No. 1 with in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors, fol­lowed by Miami and Los An­ge­les. That doesn’t cap­ture vis­i­tors who en­tered the United States else­where and trav­eled to the des­ti­na­tion.

Of New York City’s 56.4 mil­lion vis­i­tors last year, 12.2 mil­lion were from abroad. Or­lando had about half as many in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors.

Or­lando tourism of­fi­cials at­trib­uted the boom to ren­o­va­tions and ex­pan­sions at the area’s many theme parks. Uni­ver­sal Or­lando opened Di­agon Al­ley, its sec­ond Harry Pot­terthemed at­trac­tion. Walt Dis­ney World com­pleted New Fan­ta­sy­land.

Tourism of­fi­cials said the vis­i­tors con­trib­uted US$200 mil­lion in ho­tel tax col­lec­tions for Or­ange County in 2014, also a record.

Visit Or­lando cal­cu­lated the vis­i­tor num­bers us­ing fig­ures from the Na­tional Of­fice of Travel and Tourism and two re­search firms: Smith Travel Re­search and DK Shif­flet.

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