Orlando Beats Out NYC as the Most Visited Destination in the U.S.


Apr 21, 2014 12:00 pm

Skift Take

New York City draws more international visitors, who spend more time and money than U.S. travelers, but Orlando has its lock on repeat visitors elevating it to the most visited destination in the U.S.

— Samantha Shankman

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The entrance to Epcot, captured on a DSLR camera. Christian Lambert / Flickr

Orlando drew 4.7 million more visitors than New York City in 2013, challenging the status of what many think of as the most visited city in America.

Visit Orlando president and CEO George Aguel announced earlier this month that Orlando welcomed 59 million visitors in 2013, an all-time record for U.S. destinations and a 3 percent increase over its 2012 milestone.

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced in December that the big apple attracted a record 54.3 million visitors in 2013. Officials predict that number will rise to 55 million for 2014, which is still 4 million less than Orlando’s 2013 milestone.

What does Orlando have that New York City lacks?

A lot.

There’s year-round sunshine, proximity to the growing outbound Latin America market, and an always-changing selection of attractions that give previous visitors a good reason to return.

On the back of the Disney’s empire, the city’s built a reputation as the family-friendly destination and that gives families reason to return every time a new child reaches the appropriate park age.

Overall New York City attracts more international visitors than Orlando, claiming one-third of all overseas travelers to the United States, but Orlando takes in larger volume of U.S. travelers.

Despite the discrepancies in who is booking flights and hotels in each city, both destinations are growing at a record pace and reaching consecutive visitor milestones thanks in large part to Chinese, Brazilian and Indian travelers.

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