Orlando is the first destination in the United States to surpass 70 million annual visitors, tourism officials have announced. In 2017, 72 million visitors traveled to Orlando, an increase of more than 5 percent over the prior year, once again making it America's most-visited destination.
Visit Orlando, the region's official destination tourism and marketing organization, shared the number at a gathering of more than 1,000 tourism and community leaders.
"Our record-breaking year was achieved despite international headwinds and the statewide effects of Hurricane Irma," said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel in a written 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."
Orlando reached a number of other new milestones in 2017 including:
- Record number of U.S. visitors
- Record convention attendance: The Orange County Convention Center welcomed 1.53 million attendees (+5.0 percent).
- Record airline arrivals: Orlando International Airport became the busiest airport in Florida, with 44.6 million passengers (+6.4 percent).
In addition to the openings of new attractions, resorts and dining venues, Orlando's visitation benefited from new and adjusted destination marketing strategies from Visit Orlando, officials said.
Domestically, Visit Orlando recognized the potential of the country's growing positive economic indicators and increased marketing initiatives focused on U.S. audiences, with a special emphasis in the Northeast region. Domestic visitation for 2017 grew to an all-time record total of 65.86 million.
Internationally, with several key markets facing uncertainties, Visit Orlando maintained its marketing, brand and publicity programs to retain Orlando's position as a top international destination, with 6.15 million visitors.
Addressing potential concerns after Hurricane Irma struck in September, Visit Orlando launched initiatives to demonstrate how Orlando tourism areas rebounded. This was accomplished through social media and publicity campaigns that used authentic visuals of real guests, in real-time, enjoying and commenting on the status of the destination.