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Orlando Hits Record High in Tourism Again

by Lux Joseph 26. April 2015

Orlando is practically in the back yard of Commercial Medical Escorts, just under three hours away from our company headquarters. The U.S. has its own charms and hot spots to visit but there are two places that tourist seem to be very fond of. Both New York and Orlando happen to bring in the largest amount of tourist out of the many other places in the United States, but only one can reign supreme. So which city is it that tourist are picking as their “to go” place? As it turns out, Orland happens to be on top of the hierarchy when it comes to being the center of tourism here in the U.S.

According to Visit Orlando, a whopping 62 million tourist visited the Florida city during 2014 in hopes of having a good time, which, according to Orlando Sentinel, is “That is more people than the populations of Florida, Texas, Massachusetts, and Delaware, combined”.  Although this isn’t too much of a surprise, as Orlando did open up a few more attractions, including Universal Orlando’s diagon alley, from the Harry Potter series, for those of you who are unfamiliar.  

George Aguel, the President and CEO of Visit Orlando, said “This historic milestone is the latest testament to Orlando’s leadership in tourism.” He continued to say “It’s a tribute to the steadfast commitment and continued investment by our tourism community, the special brand of service that greets our visitors and the global marketing and sales efforts of our Visit Orlando team and member companies.”

This wouldn’t be the first time that Orlando has broken this record. In 2013, the record was broken with an astonishing 59 million people, and again New York coming in second place. More so, Orlando was able to break another record in 2014. Apparently, they were able to sell 32 million room nights, which amounted to over 200 million, the largest that the Orange County has ever seen. Mayor Teresa Jacobs commented “The impact of tourism on our community is remarkable and, in fact, the travel and tourism industry is the largest generator of jobs and economic impact for our region...”

Although New York did have something to say in response to the victory. Chris Heywood, an official at NYC & Co., said “We congratulate them on those numbers,” It seemed like a friendly enough thing to say, but he continued to say “We're thrilled to be the number one destination for international visitation. That is a market that stays longer and spends more money.” This just happens to be the case. New York, while not the top when it comes to general tourism, leaps bounds over everywhere else when it comes to international tourist, leading with a 12.2 million people, and Orlando only having half that amount.

Even so, it is a great achievement to be the leading in the total amount of tourism coming into a place. If anything, it might be a good idea to start planning a trip, just to see what all the fuss is about.

 

Sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/officials-orlando-top-us-tourist-destination-2014-30174715

http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/blog/2015/04/orlando-becomes-first-destination-to-surpass-60m.html

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/tourism/tourism-central-florida-blog/os-orlando-visitation-record-2014-20150409-post.html

http://www.travelweekly.com/North-America-Travel/Orlando-breaks-visitor-record

http://www.ibtimes.com/orlando-surpasses-new-york-most-visited-us-city-1574621 

The Hottest Winter Destinations

by Lux Joseph 5. November 2014

As we enter into the winter season, Commercial Medical Escorts will see a shift in the destinations in which we are picking up patients. This happens several different times throughout the year and it is based primarily on travel trends and where tourists travel at different times throughout the year. To understand this upcoming winter travel destinations we took the opportunity to speak with CEO McNamara of Sky Cap Corp, a travel management company based in South Florida that specializes in travel for travel assistance, medical escort, and air ambulance companies.

Sky Cap Corp stated that based on bookings by members of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Orlando is clearly the most popular domestic destination for the 2014-2015 winter season. Orlando was chosen by 41 percent of the respondents in ASTA’s 2014 Hot Spots for Winter survey, followed by Las Vegas (13%), New York City (6%), Miami (5%), Honolulu (3%), San Francisco (3%), Fort Myers (3%), Los Angeles 3%), Maui (3%) and San Diego (2%). 

 “Orlando and Las Vegas remain on top for winter vacation spots as warm and fun places to escape winter," said Mr. McNamara, Sky Cap Corp President and CEO. “Agents say both locations have a great variety of activities that can meet the needs of young people, extended families and couples.” The top 10 domestic destination cities for Winter are the same as the Summer top 10 with the exception of Fort Myers and Maui replacing New Orleans and Washington, D.C. When asked about the top state destinations, Florida, led by Orlando, topped with a 58 percent share. Rounding out the top five state destinations for winter travel are Hawaii (20%), California (10%), Nevada (3%) and New York (2%). Florida and Hawaii have a much stronger share in the winter compared to summer.

For those who look forward to international travel this winter, travel agents choose Cancun as the most popular international destination for the 2014-2015 winter season. Cancun was chosen by 24 percent of respondents to ASTA’s 2014 Hot Spots for Winter Survey, up from only 5 percent in the summer version of the survey. Rounding out the top 10 destinations for winter are Rome (16%), London (11%), Paris (9%), Sydney (3%), Barcelona (3%), Montego Bay (3%), Riviera Maya (3%), Punta Cana (2%) and Cape Town (1%).

 “Cancun came out as the clear winter vacation destination desired by our member’s clients for obvious reason,” said Mr. McNamara.  “Cancun is easily accessible from the U.S., has a plethora of all-inclusive resorts, a warm climate and beautiful beaches.” The top 10 international destination cities in the winter survey are the same as the summer top 10 with the exception of Sydney and Cape Town replacing Amsterdam and Madrid. Sydney and Cape Town, as Southern Hemisphere cities, are deemed best visited during the Northern Hemisphere winter.

When asked about the top country/region destinations, Mexico, led by Cancun, topped with a 24 percent share. Rounding out the top five country/region destinations for winter travel are Italy (18%), the Caribbean (12%), France (7%) and United Kingdom (6%).

Survey data was collected through the 2014 ASTA Research Family from July through August 2014. This survey has a 95 percent rate confidence with an error rate +/-5 percent.

Responsible Tourism

by Lux Joseph 26. August 2014

We are all aware that our planet, and in some places her people, are in a delicate state. The reality is that we must act now to preserve our planet, her natural resources and protect the, usually unseen, people of tourist destinations around the world. The travel industry is committed to responsible tourism. This is the time that the travel industry, retailers and consumers, can make a difference. We know what is at stake if we do not succeed.

What is responsible tourism?  Responsible tourism is the idea that, by working together, we can all make minor changes to preserve our beaches, rivers and forests. Responsible tourism means will we preserve historic places like Machu Picchu, the Roman Colosseum and the Mayan ruins.  By taking action now, we will leave our children and grandchildren the same beautiful world that so many of us have had the privilege of exploring during our lifetime. 

Responsible tourism focuses on efficiency and using energy resources wisely. For example, the next time you stay in a hotel, turn off the lights and air conditioner before you leave the room. Even though you aren’t paying the electricity bill you are still using energy.  Or, instead of requesting fresh towels and linens each day, try to get more than one day’s use out of them.  Many hotels, resorts and even cruise ships now give you the option of refusing their daily linen-exchange service.  These changes, while small, will make a difference if we can get everyone to make them. Commercial Medical Escorrts encourages each of our escorts to participate in responsible tourism while they are on missions around the world.

Responsible tourism also means conserving the world’s beautiful vacation destinations and protecting the local people, wherever they might be.  Many tourists have unfortunately adopted the attitude that their actions won’t impact the areas they visit.  After all, it’s only a week right?  Wrong!  Tourists need to know that while they may only be there for one week, thousands of people visit that destination each year.  What happens if we all adopt the same lackadaisical attitude?  We all must do our part. 

You might be asking yourself, “Well, what can I do that would actually make a difference?”  Start small but think big. Pick up your trash before you leave the beach at the end of the day, be mindful of what you drop or pour into the lake and exercise extreme care when hiking through a national park.  Tourists must not forget that even though they are on vacation, their vacation destination is someone’s home town, village or country and should be treated with the utmost respect.

Another facet of responsible tourism is a relatively new concept, volunteer vacations. A volunteer vacation is a vacation that focuses more on others rather than self.  Many people now take these kinds of trips to learn about new cultures, visit beautiful destinations and to give back to the local people of those destinations.

Volunteer vacations are also important because they put money back into that particular destination’s economy. On a typical vacation you may not always have the chance to interact with the people who call that destination home. By traveling to these areas to volunteer your time, you are not only helping the individuals but also their village, town or country as a whole. You will learn about their culture and heritage and possibly make a few friends along the way. Volunteer vacations bridge the gap between cultures, forming a web of friendship and hospitality around the world. Visit TravelSense.org today to learn more about volunteer vacations!

One of the areas in travel most blamed for crippling our environment is the physical travel part of vacations. Planes, trains and other gas-powered means of travel all receive their fare share of finger-pointing. So, unless you can ride your bike to your vacation destination there’s nothing different you could do right?  Think again!  Many destinations around the world now offer tourists new options when it comes to getting around.  Consider renting a smaller vehicle, perhaps one that runs on an alternative fuel or gets better-than-average gas mileage.  Buses may seem like gas-guzzlers but if everyone decided to take a tour bus while on vacation it would actually be better for the environment than if each individual rented their own car.

Don’t forget that some of the world’s most spectacular sights are not accessible by motorized vehicle. Take advantage of your vacation time to do something good for the planet and for you – hike to the top of a mountain to watch a sunset, take a snorkeling trip to view spectacular coral or just take a peaceful canoe ride down the river. All of these excursions are powered by human energy. Human energy is the safest form of energy always renewable.

Regardless of the type of vacation you chose or where you decide to go, please remember this: We are all connected to each other.  Our world, while grand in size, is not as big as it once was where traveling is concerned.  We can explore or visit almost any destination we choose. If we make a commitment to be responsible tourists we will see a healthier, more beautiful world regardless or where our travels might take us.


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