Orlando Becomes First U.S. Destination to Host More Than 55 Million Visitors

In 2011, Orlando became the first U.S. destination to welcome more than 55 million visitors, making it the country's most visited city, Visit Orlando, the city's convention and visitors bureau, announced yesterday.

Last year, Orlando drew a record-breaking 55.1 million visitors, up 7.2 percent from last year's record-setting 51.4 million. That's more than any other city in the United States, according to Visit Orlando, which said the number included 51.3 million domestic and 3.8 million international visitors, up 7.5 and 3.5 percent, respectively, from 2010.

"This is tremendously positive news for the destination," said Visit Orlando Chairman Paul Tang. "We have seen a strong rebound in our visitation numbers over the past two years led by increases in domestic and international travel and we continue to be optimistic about the future of the destination. We are known worldwide as the top family destination and we continue to be a top choice for inspiring meetings. Breaking the 55 million total visitation mark shows the strength of the Orlando brand."

Other 2011 visitor data, according to Visit Orlando:

• Canada was Orlando's top feeder market, with 1.015 million travelers, up 5.7 percent from 2010.
• Total domestic leisure visitation was up 8.3 percent to 41.4 million, representing 75 percent of all visitors.
• Overnight leisure visitation was 28.3 million, up 9.8 percent.
• Overnight convention-group meeting visitation was 3.3 million, up 2.7 percent.
• Hotel room occupancy was up 5.8 percent to 67.6 percent.

"Our travel and tourism industry has led the way in creating new jobs over the past two years and from these numbers you can see why," said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. "I commend the industry and the companies that continue to invest their time and resources to keep Orlando top of mind with potential travelers. They continue to be the backbone of our community and we are happy to support their efforts."