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Orlando Shatters Tourism Record

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© Getty Images Orlando, Florida, USA downtown skyline at Eola Lake. (Sean Pavone / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

By Donald Wood, TravelPulse

Orlando tourism officials announced Thursday that the popular city became the first United States destination to surpass 70 million annual visitors.

Orlando welcomed 72 million visitors in 2017, marking a five-percent increase over the previous year and once again cementing the destination as the most visited in America. The Visit Orlando tourism and marketing organization revealed the data during a ceremony Thursday.

In total, Orlando set several new milestones in 2017, including a record number of U.S. visitors, record convention attendance (1.53 million attendees) and record airline arrivals at Orlando International Airport (44.6 million passengers).

“Our record-breaking year was achieved despite international headwinds and the statewide effects of Hurricane Irma,” Visit Orlando CEO George Aguel said in a statement. “In 2017, our destination launched new consumer experiences on a significant scale and our marketing efforts leveraged increasing consumer confidence in the United States. We also continued our focus on communicating the unique emotional connection visitors have with Orlando.”

“Orlando's record-setting visitation affirms the city as a leader in the U.S. travel industry,” U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow said. “The success in Orlando is great, not just for this iconic destination, but for travel as a whole. As the U.S. overall looks to regain its share of the global travel market, this new milestone in Orlando is a welcome reminder of the resiliency of this industry.”

Not only did the city benefit from the openings of new attractions, resorts, and dining venues, but Visit Orlando’s marketing strategies also helped. One of the biggest focuses for the tourism bureau was domestic visitors, which reached 65.86 million in 2017.

As for international visitors, marketing helped entice 6.15 million visitors from around the world.

Orlando also rebounded quickly from the effects of Hurricane Irma which hit in September, with initiatives launched by officials to demonstrate how tourism areas around the city were still open for business.

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