May 9th, 2015 11:46 AM by Karyn Smith
The 2014 tourism numbers are in, and boy, are they good for the metro Orlando region.
Visit Orlando reports that more than 62 million people visited Orlando in 2014, marking an all-time new record for the U.S. travel industry.
In addition, 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.
“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.”
A number of expansions and new additions to area theme parks helped contribute to the totals. In 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.
“The impact of tourism on our community is remarkable and, in fact, the travel and tourism industry is the largest generator of jobs and economic impact for our region,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “In addition to delighting visitors and families from around the world, our travel and hospitality industry helps to support a great quality of life for Orlando’s residents, including our amazing new performing arts center and outstanding sports venues.”