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SPORT: A KEY DRIVER FOR ORLANDO’S TOURISM RECOVERY IN 2021

Orlando has identified sport as a key driver to aid tourism recovery, following Covid-19 lockdowns.

Al Kidd, President and CEO of Sports ETA, the international association for the sports events and tourism industry, said: “As we emerge from the restrictions and challenges of the pandemic and return to business, great cities like Orlando are poised to recover faster than others. Sports events and sports tourism in Orlando have shown to be the re-entry catalyst, generating new and much-needed business.”

All eyes were on Orlando during the pandemic as the National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer restarted their seasons.

Don Welsh, President and CEO of Destinations International, added: “It was impressive to watch their collaborative community come together to host in the most trying of circumstances.”

Orlando believes its emphasis on encouraging sports-related travel and welcoming teams and players has been a game-changing factor in keeping its infrastructure ticking over.

Jason Siegel, Chief Executive of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission, said: “When business travel collapsed, some cities, including Orlando, were saved by their youth and amateur sport travel business.

“There is no doubt in my mind that sports tourism is a viable pathway for generating visitor spending and promoting a destination – which is why Orlando puts such a high priority on it.”

Orlando has the largest tourism industry in the USA, producing US$26bn (eds. €22.2bn) a year.

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