Orlando Becomes First U.S. Destination to Host More Than 50 Million Visitors

In 2010, Orlando became the first U.S. destination to welcome more than 50 million visitors, making it the country's most visited city, Visit Orlando, the city's convention and visitors bureau, announced this week.

Last year, Orlando drew a record-breaking 51.455 million visitors, up 10.5 percent from 46.6 million in 2009 and more than any other city in the United States. That included 47.78 million domestic visitors, up 10.3 percent, and 3.675 million international visitors, up 12.6 percent.

"Despite the challenging economic times, the Orlando tourism and meetings community continued to invest in new hotels and attractions," said Visit Orlando President and CEO Gary Sain. "Visit Orlando launched aggressive global marketing campaigns showcasing that Orlando offers visitors something they can't get anywhere else — world famous attractions, value for their money and an experience they will never forget. The fact that Orlando bounced back in 2010 with the most visitation in not only Orlando's history, but the most of any U.S. destination, shows our aggressive leisure and meetings strategies worked and our message resonated with travelers."

Added Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, "The tremendous efforts of our tourism industry were instrumental in helping our community weather the recent economic challenges. This is a positive sign for our region and our residents; as travel and tourism goes so does Orlando's economy. The tourism industry supports approximately 400,000 jobs for Orlando residents, which generates $13.6 billion in wages. This news is a win win for our residents and our community."

Other visitor data, according to Visit Orlando:

• Canada was Orlando's top feeder market, with 960,000 travelers, up 11 percent.

• Total domestic overnight visitation was up 10.7 percent to 30.5 million

• Overnight convention-group meeting visitation was 3.24 million, up 1.4 percent.

• Hotel room occupancy was up 6.3 percent.

"Travel and tourism is our No. 1 economic engine by far," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. "It also gives back to our community through support of the arts, education and community organizations. These numbers are tremendous. For our region to continue its recovery, we need for our travel and tourism economy to lead the way. Today's announcement is wonderful news and I am so proud of our travel and tourism partners for their success."