Published on : Thursday, June 16, 2016
Florida, the most visited destination in the US set a record of 4.8 percent increase in tourists over the last year in the first quarter of 2016. A total of 29.8 million visited the state. But recent shooting of 49 people in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, shooting of 22-year old Christina Grimmie, a singer and former contestant on NBC’s The Voice, and the most recent incident in Disney World resort, where a toddler was snatched by an alligator and pulled underwater, his body was recovered two days later, has left the city feeling overwhelmed.
These strings of events have left a devastating effect on Florida tourism. Florida has been breaking tourism records quarter after quarter now for about five straight years. The major attraction in Florida, the Disney World and the Universal Studio are Visit Orlando’s most attractive baits for tourists. More than 25.6 million of visitors were domestic, a 6.6-percent increase from a year ago.
However the attacks on the Pulse nightclub according to a research firm called Maxim Group finds a drop in travel booking by 13 percent. “Holiday bookings travel dropped 13 percent after those attacks,” says Stephen Anderson, a senior vice president at Maxim. The reports feel that the impact on Florida’s visitation number could fall in the same proportion as the attacks on Paris, which happened in the last November.
Some passengers who arrived at the Orlando Airport after the incident expressed concern over the attacks. Passengers in the baggage claiming area wanted to alter their travel plans and visit some other destination instead. However many felt that in the given situation security would be more alert and risks of anymore shooting would be minimal.
It will be sometime before Orlando gets over the stigma of being attacked. But George Aguel, the President of Visit Orlando, hopes that people who have visited Orlando in the past will have better memories of the city and the recent events will not have a long term effect on the Central Florida City.
Restaurant owners are worried that business might suffer and specially those who are close to the Pulse nightclub, Brick and Fire Pizza and Pasta Parlor feel that their business maybe affected after the shooting. Since the attack business has been closed off to major traffic. The restaurateurs are trying to restore normalcy by keeping their joints open for short periods. The shooting has left the neighbors sad as they knew the restaurant owners and many guests who visited the club. The loss of life has been the worst. The city is doing its best to overcome the grief. With support from visiting tourists Orlando will be able to bounce back to stability and the resilience in tourism should be restored.