Added Orlando flights bring hope for tourism industry

More than 60 flights added as holidays approach

ORLANDO, Fla. – As the tourism industry continues to face struggles due to the coronavirus pandemic, Orlando International Airport on Tuesday announced an increase in flights for the holiday season.

Airport officials said 31 flights were added this month and 36 more are being added for December.

The announcement came less than a week after Avianca resumed nonstop service from Orlando to South America for the first time since the pandemic.

“Travel has been increasing as travelers become more comfortable with safety protocols,” Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond said.

Diamond on Monday spoke about the financial impact from decreases in travel, saying tourist revenue in September was down 60% from 2019.

“That is the biggest year-over-year decrease in the history of the tourist development tax,” Diamond said.

While revenue is down from 2019, the $7 million in September tourist taxes was an increase of 22% from August.

County officials said the latest numbers have left them optimistic about the upcoming holiday season providing another boost to revenue.

“I see that as encouraging that perhaps it’s a couple million over the prior month,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said. “We’re moving in the right direction.”

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.