Photo Credit: Photo credit: Mikhail Nilov
Local Tourism Falls As Americans Seek International Travel Adventures
It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic negatively impacted the travel and tourism industry. The effects were felt worldwide. However, American cities are noticing a continuous decline in local tourism as a result of more citizens choosing to travel internationally instead of in the States.
According to WESH News 2, local tourism is down in Central Florida. A news report from the station revealed that the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections have been declining for months. In Orlando, it is projected that tax collections will continue to decline throughout the rest of the summer, with taxes on hotel and motel collections dropping by $13 million over the last two months.
The cross-country road trip used to be the highlight of the American summer. Now, more travelers are seeking overseas adventure instead of local tourism.
International Travel Is The Trend
The travel and tourism industry took a major hit worldwide during and following the pandemic. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the domestic travel industry declined by 50.7 percent in 2020. Although the numbers increased to $362 billion in 2021, the industry has yet to recover from the pandemic.
Despite the increase, Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond told WESH News 2 that tourism has dropped this summer. While knowing the economy has prevented some Americans from traveling, he also realizes many travelers have other options.
“I think part of it is the fact that last year was so good, and this year there are more options for people to travel to, or maybe people traveled to Orlando last year, and they may want to travel to someplace different this year,” Diamond said.
Americans are realizing they have more options available when it comes to travel; that includes beyond U.S. shores. According to Skift, 80.8 million Americans traveled internationally in 2022.
According to a press release from AAA, international travel is up 200 percent compared to 2022 numbers. The rise has been attributed to an increase in hotel bookings and flight pricing.
“Travelers are making up for lost time and willing to spend more to see the world,” Senior Vice President of Travel at AAA Paula Twidale said in the news release.
However, back in Orlando, Diamond believes Americans will still rely on local tourism because traveling abroad is sometimes out of reach.
“People can’t afford to take nice trips all of the time,” he told WESH News 2.
Home Is Where The Heart Is
Orlando is making a few changes to help drive local tourism. This includes investing $3 billion in expanding the convention center, the Camping World Stadium, the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, and other projects.
While local tourism in Central Florida may have taken a hit this summer, inbound visitors to the US are continuing to rise. According to the National Travel and Tourism Office, the US hosted 51 million international visitors in 2022.