ORANGE COUNTY, FL - It’s a ghost town on International Drive, usually the hub of Orlando's tourist district, but Orange County now has a road map for bringing visitors back.
“We are talking about an overarching plan to be productive and we hope, very effective,” said George Aguel, President of Visit Orlando and member of Orange County’s Economic Recovery Task Force.
Orange County’s Economic Recovery Task Force is offering recommendations on what the recovery of tourism should look like, in a three-phase approach.
Phase one is keeping Orlando as a destination, top of mind. Keeping consumers connected via virtual experiences and social media and staying visible through publicity.
“We wanted to be sure that through all the noise that’s out in the marketplace and in the consumer’s mind about everything happening, that we didn’t just disappear and fall of the face of the earth,” said Aguel.
Phase two is building trust and easing concerns among potential visitors. That includes: communicating affordability of various Orlando experiences but most importantly, providing information on how businesses are taking health and safety measures.
“I want to know whether it’s your hotel, your attraction, whatever that business I’m considering, experiencing, I want to know in very good detail, whether it’s on your website or response to emails, I need to know in really good detail, what exactly you are doing,” said Aguel.
Part of the recommendations is a seal of approval for businesses by a health safety organization.
Phase three is welcoming tourists, beginning this summer with in-state visitors.
“Florida is our number one market, no question about it, it always has been,” said Aguel.
By mid to late summer 2020, the recommendation is to start attracting regional guests and beginning in the fall, opening up to all of the country.
Visit Orlando President George Aguel reminds, this is all dependent on the pandemic and economy continuing to improve.
“All of this should portend the scaling in the right direction, certainly as long as the economic recovery throughout the country and the coming out of this circumstance continues to track as everyone is anticipating,” said Aguel.
You may have noticed, international travelers are not included in the plans, just yet. That is a market businesses on I-Drive say they depend on.
“We depend 100 percent on international tourists, if international tourist are not coming, we are nothing, over here,” said Nurmohd Pasariah, Owner, J & M Food Mart.