I-Drive attractions cater to locals as tourism remains slow

The International Drive Tourist District is now the “Orlando Entertainment District."

The once hotspot for tourists is struggling for business, so it’s turning to locals.

“The tourists just aren’t coming in...I think it’s important to all the attractions down here. Reach out to the locals and get them to come visit us and get them to come back to have a different experience,” said Karen Shriner, artifact specialist at the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition.

Just how bad is it? Entertainment Complex Icon Park tells FOX 35 that tourists normally make up 70% of its traffic. Right now, it has dropped to 20%.

“We’re not sitting around waiting for the conventions to reactivate. We’re doing something about it,” said Chris Jaskiewicz, president and CEO at ICON Park.

The Wheel at ICON PARK. (FOX 35 Orlando)

A group of venues and attractions have created a coalition to rebrand the district as a local entertainment hub.

“We’re easy to get to. We’re reasonably priced and it’s quality,” Jaskiewicz said.

And many of the attractions are offering deals for locals.

For example, 40% off the Play Pass at ICON Park, where visitors can ride the wheel, eat, and drink.

“All of the other attractions have special deals for locals, for residents. And our website actually refers people to those websites, so they can see for themselves,” Jaskiewicz said.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is also offering discounts for Central Floridians. Turn date night into a history lesson.

“We actually have 160 artifacts from the wreck of the ship, itself,” Shriner said about the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition.

Jaskiewicz is asking the community for its support for an industry crippled by the pandemic.

“The entertainment community does a lot for Central Florida, does a lot for Florida. You think about all the taxes generated, sales taxes, property taxes, the hotel taxes, all the jobs that are created, all the ancillary industries that are supported,” Jaskiewicz said. “If people are inclined, the way to support us now is to come visit us.”

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