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Not even a hurricane could keep tourists away from Central Florida

Photo: Pixabay
Photo: Pixabay

Despite Hurricane Ian, Orange County’s tourism industry saw an increase in tax revenue in September. 

Tourist development taxes collected on hotels and other short-term rentals in the area in September were over $24 million dollars. 

That’s an almost 49 percent increase over last year. 

Visit Orlando’s Denise Spiegel says the area was able to continue to attract tourists despite the hurricane. 

“The occupancy for that week actually peaked on Wednesday, the evening of the hurricane, and so occupancy there was just under 70%. And then, you know, it went back up fairly quickly. So when we look ahead, you know, to October, the month of October has been performing exceptionally well.”

She thanks several landmark local events for this.

“You know, there's a variety of factors. There was a school holiday break in October. There are also several events at the convention center, there was a Come Out with Pride festival and our destination has a fabulous array of Halloween events that are very popular as well.”

Spiegel says so far, bookings for the holiday season that includes Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years are a bit slower this year, but things are beginning to pick back up. 

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan and is a graduate of both the University of Michigan and Northwestern University. In her free time, she enjoys playing her guitar, writing fiction, and cooking.