ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando International Airport welcomed its first two Brazilian flights to Orlando on Wednesday since the beginning of the pandemic.
Those flights came from Campinos and São Paulo, Brazil.
Taish Mezes lives in Orlando and said seeing her mom from Brazil for the first time since the pandemic is the best birthday gift ever.
“Oh my God it’s my birthday gift, I can’t wait to see her,” Taish Mezessaid.
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Central Florida tourism leaders are welcoming Brazilians back during this peak travel time for them.
“With over 50,000 vacation homes, we are ready for them. We are ready to host everyone,” Juliana Leveroni said, she is the Director of Communications from Experience Kissimmee.
Visit Orlando said it is even expanding its international marketing campaigns next year to include Brazil.
“Prepandemic it was approaching about 900,000 Brazilians per year,” Danielle Hollander said, she is the Chief Marketing Officer for Visit Orlando.
But, while airport and tourism leaders say the new international flights will help boost our local economy, there are still concerns from some travelers about the Omicron variant and its possible impact on international flights at OIA.
Traveler Kate Jennings said the omicron variant right now is top of mind.
“It’s always a concern with any pandemic, but we’ve been treating it safely,” Jennings said.
Airport leaders said it’s too soon to say what impact if any the new variant would have on international travel at OIA, but that flights from Brazil to Orlando are booked through January.
“I know that we were watching very closely on what the CDC requirements are as far as the entry and the WHO. Requirements change often so we are watching to see,” Vicki Jaramillo said, she is Senior Director of Marketing and Air Service Development at the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.
This also comes as international flights from the UK returned to OIA last month.