Thanks to a near-tripling of people flying between Central Florida and Latin America, Orlando was one of the three fastest-growing major markets for international air travelers during the past eight years, according to a new study released Thursday. About 5.4 million airline passengers traveled between Metro Orlando and foreign cities last year, up 60 percent from 3.4 million in 2003 — a significant feat, one researcher said.

Only Las Vegas, Nev., and Charlotte, N.C., had stronger growth rates among major U.S. markets, according to the Brookings Institution, the Washington think tank that produced the study. The study also shows the tremendous growth in air travel between Orlando and specific cities around the world. For example, in 2003 only 2,017 people flew between Orlando and Brazil’s capital city, Brasilia, but by last year, the number had jumped 1,422 percent to 30,690.

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