Tourism bosses in Orlando are not anticipating a downturn in visitor numbers following the gun attack on a nightclub which left 49 dead and the death of a 2-year-old who was killed by an alligator at a Disney resort hotel.
George Aguel, chief executive of Visit Orlando, said the attack at the Pulse nightclub had prompted all tourism businesses in the city to review their security, with the tourist board itself making security information more prominent on its website to reassure those concerned.
However, he said that monitoring of media channels and anecdotal evidence from industry partners suggested that neither incident would deter potential visitors.
He said: “The effect [of the Pulse attack] on the community was profound, but the outpouring from around the world is a reflection of how people feel about Orlando.
“Safety is our first priority and we have been reinforcing that, and at the moment we can’t see any sign of people changing their travel plans.”
Aguel was speaking at the IPW conference in New Orleans, where Visit Orlando cancelled a planned press conference in the light of the Pulse attack.
US Travel Association chief executive Roger Dow also paid tribute to the victims at the event’s opening lunch, with 6,000 delegates standing to show solidarity with the destination and those who were killed.
Discussing the UK market, Aguel said it had provided a “bright spot” for the destination, with visitor numbers expected to be up year-on-year when figures for 2015 are released shortly.
However, he admitted concern over the potential impact of a Brexit vote in Thursday’s EU referendum.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the UK market,” he said. “We have worked hard to get the market back after some slow years, and we started to see a real upturn last year which has continued moving into this year.
“I think we will anticipate seeing a year-on-year increase again.”
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