Tag Archives: VisitOrlando

ORLANDO becomes first destination to surpass 60 million visitors

More than 62 million people visited Orlando in 2014. It marks a new all-time record for the U.S. travel industry, solidifying Orlando’s position as the most visited destination in the US. Visitation grew five percent from 2013 as visitors from around the world came to experiencOrlando Eyee all that is new across the ever-expanding destination. A record 32 million room nights were sold in Orlando in 2014, resulting in bed tax collections topping $200 million for the first time in Orange County, Fla., home to the Central Florida tourism district.

“This historic milestone is the latest testament to Orlando’s leadership in tourism,” said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel. “It’s a tribute to the steadfast commitment and continued investment by our tourism community, the special brand of service that greets our visitors and the global marketing and sales efforts of our Visit Orlando team and member companies.”

“The impact of tourism is remarkable, and in fact, the travel and tourism industry is the largest generator of jobs and economic impact for the region,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “In addition to delighting visitors and families from aroBob's Balloon Flights, in Orlandound the world, travel and hospitality industry helps to support a great quality of life for Orlando’s residents, including amazing new performing arts center and outstanding sports venues.”  To meet the needs of a growing number of visitors, Orange County has made investments in infrastructure, including investing in an important expansion and renovation of the nationally recognized Orange County Convention Center.

“Passing the 60 million annual visitors mark is a significant achievement for Orlando and the U.S. travel industry that generates $2.1 trillion for the U.S. economy each year,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Thanks to the close partnership among members of Orlando’s tourism community and strong leadership by public officials and Visit Orlando, this popular destination known around the world is well positioned to continue setting records in tourism.”

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Studios, FloridaIn 2014, Walt Disney World Resort completed New Fantasyland, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort opened. Visitors to Orlando in 2015 will experience the first full year of these exciting expansions that opened in 2014 and be the first to see several new attractions, including I-Drive 360, featuring a trio of new attractions from Merlin Entertainments, as well as a multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs.

SeaWorlds CelebrationIn recent years, the Orlando experience has also become more diverse, attracting an increasingly wide range of visitors. Foodies find a surprisingly sophisticated culinary destination, recognized with more “Best of the South” chef nominations by the prestigious James Beard Foundation than any city in Florida for three straight years. Luxury travelers are drawn to the five-star service at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando that opened six months ago, as well as the Ritz-Carlton Orlando and Waldorf Astoria Orlando. Visitors are also discovering exciting new venues in which to enjoy the arts and professional sports, like the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts and the Major League Soccer stadium coming to Downtown Orlando in 2016.

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Golf in Paradise Or a Golfer’s Paradise – Florida is Both

One can play golf like a pro anywhere and anytime in Florida. The Sunshine State has 1,000-plus courses – more than any other state. Add world-renowned restaurants and top-rated hotels and spas that are often adjoining or nearby and, yes, Florida is a golfer’s paradise.

South Florida 

17th Hole at THE PLAYERS Stadium Golf Course. Photo: VISIT FLORIDA
17th Hole at THE PLAYERS Stadium Golf Course. Photo: VISIT FLORIDA

The birthplace of Florida golf is the Breakers Ocean Course. Henry Flagler, railroad tycoon and the “Father of Florida Tourism,” opened the Breakers hotel in 1896. More than 100 years later, Palm Beach stills calls itself Florida’s Golf Capital. From that first 9-hole course, Palm Beach County’s golf menu has expanded to 160 public and private courses. The Tom Fazio-designed Emerald Dunes is one of Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 Courses You Can Play.” After a round, relax at The Spa at The Breakers, a seaside retreat offering personalized treatments, sparkling pools and spa cuisine.

Southwest Florida

Golf great Greg Norman designed two championship courses at Naples Tiburón Golf Club, home to the Franklin Templeton Shootout each December. Next door, the Ritz-Carlton welcomes weary golfers. Celebrating 25 years, the Ritz can ensure the perfect getaway for visitors of any age – from beach and recreational activities to interactive kids programs and offshore sailing on the Gulf of Mexico. And a couple of minutes down the road are the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt – a mix of upscale shopping and restaurants, plus the Indoor Farmer’s Market & Emporium.

 Central Florida

NNIKA Golf Academy of Orlando. Photo: Visit Orlando
NNIKA Golf Academy of Orlando. Photo: Visit Orlando

If your game needs tweaking, there is a great teacher here who can help. Many of the top instructors and more than 20 golf academies are in the Orlando area, including Arnold Palmer Golf Academy and the David Leadbetter Golf Academy at Champions Gate, just 15 minutes from Walt Disney World. With more than 170 courses to pick from, Orlando can satisfy family golfers, guy getaways, and the most discerning enthusiasts. The Waldorf Astoria Orlando, sitting on more than 450 emerald-green acres, has a full-service luxury spa. The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club offers children and young adults up to age 17 a complimentary round with an adult.

North Florida

More than 1,200 golf holes. Something for every level and every budget. Some of golf’s most famous venues. Start on the Atlantic coast. The World Golf Hall of Fame is just north of St. Augustine. The PGA’s PLAYERS Championship comes to TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach every spring. After conquering (or surviving) Sawgrass, consider the Lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra Beach where all the rooms overlook the Atlantic. Travel west and the topography changes. Pine trees and wetlands are the norm at theRaven and Burnt Pine golf clubs, both in Sandestin. After sundown, Destin has New Orleans-style seafood restaurants and live music at places like the Funky Blues Shack. Whatever your golf persona, Florida has a course to accommodate your style and outing.