Orlando set a record in 2004 when 47.8
million visited the destination, a 6.1% increase over the previous
year, according to the Orlando/Orange County Convention &
Visitors Bureau. Domestic visitors accounted for 95% of the total,
and just over half of them were Florida residents.
overall increase was a 12.4% rise in international visitors, the
first increase in international arrivals since 2000.
numbers have grown steadily over the past three years, and while
the number of domestic visitors increased by a relatively small
percentage (5.8%) in 2004, it represents a hefty increase of 2.5
In contrast, the
relatively larger percentage increase of international travelers
from 2.3 million to 2.6 million represents an increase of only a
few hundred thousand.
Both leisure and
business travel increased. The number of leisure visitors increased
by 6.2% to 35.2 million, while the briefcase crowd numbered 10
million, an increase of 4.4%.
Orlando is well known as a family destination, the CVB reports that
the percentage of travelers with children decreased slightly last
year, from 43% to 41%.
But the theme parks
have little to fear. Theme park visits remained by far the most
popular activity, with 73% of domestic leisure visitors
The average leisure
travel party in 2004 consisted of 2.8 visitors and spent $1,653
over the course of 2.9 nights. The size of traveling parties and
the length of stay remained constant, but spending per party
increased slightly, the CVB said.
remains the staple of Orlando tourism, maintaining a steady growth
curve every year for the past decade with the single exception of
2001, when the numbers dropped by more than 2 million from 39.8
million in 2000 to 37.7 million in 2001.
In 2002, the number
shot back up to 40.6 million, which beat the previous record in
2000 by 800,000. Since then, domestic numbers have set records
Over a 10-year
period, international visitor numbers have traveled a much rockier
road. In spite of the increase in 2004, the totals still stand
below those of 1995, when Orlando welcomed 3.2 million foreign
visitors. The number grew slightly in 1996 and 1997 to nearly 3.5
million, then declined in both 1998 and 1999. It peaked at 3.7
million in 2000, then dropped to 3.1 million in 2001 and to 2.4
million in 2002.