PHOTO: Visit Orlando's president & CEO George Aguel, along with Peter Kacheris. (photo courtesy of VisitOrlando)
In 2015, Orlando welcomed a record number of visitors — a new all-time record. According to VisitOrlando, 66.1 million people visited the city last year, a 5.5 percent increase over 2014.
"Reaching more than 66 million visitors to Orlando is an amazing accomplishment for our tourism community," said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel. "This new milestone and rapid growth over the past two decades is a result of having a tourism industry and community partners that are focused on growth and investment, dedication to the needs of our visitors and the global marketing and sales efforts of our Visit Orlando team and member companies."
Moreover, a record 33 million room nights were sold, resulting in record tourist development tax collection that topped $230 million in the Central Florida tourism district.
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"We're so proud to break another national record and again be named the top visitor destination for the U.S.," said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. "With our superb convention center and culture of hospitality, world-class theme parks, family-friendly entertainment and luxury dining and lodging amenities, it's no surprise that Central Florida remains the top destination for business, family and leisure guests."
The announcement of the record numbers was made at the annual Travel & Tourism Luncheon that celebrates the city’s tourism community. More than 800 tourism and community leaders were present at the event, which takes place during National Travel and Tourism Week.
"Orlando has reached yet another historic milestone with more than 66 million visitors in 2015 — a significant achievement for Orlando and the U.S. travel industry," said U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow. "The region's remarkable commitment to travel and tourism — with especial kudos to Visit Orlando, its tourism community members, and the leadership of local public officials — enabled it to hit yet another visitation record."
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Orlando’s hotel inventory is now 117,000 rooms and the international airport serves nearly 39 million visitors per year. Over the last 20 years, the region has solidified its place as one of the top theme park destinations in the world with continued openings and expansions. The city of Orlando has also experienced a renaissance, with several new arts and sports venues and a continued growth in luxury options that has attracted a high-end clientele to the region over the last two decades.