Published on : Friday, June 17, 2016
The Orlando nightclub massacre accounting for 49 victims is expected to decrease tourists visits in Florida, as the incident is the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States.
Despite Florida reporting 29.8 million out-of-state and international visitors in the first quarter of 2016 and Orlando and Tampa Bay welcomed record number of tourists in 2015, the latest incident might take toll over the area travel sector.
Nevertheless, Visit Orlando, Central Florida’s official tourism association, has hope that with support from around the globe and law enforcement security measures will give “confidence that [the area] will remain a destination of choice for visitors.” George Aguel, CEO of Visit Orlando, also commented : “The tourism community and local authorities have always worked closely on a comprehensive approach to security to ensure a safe environment for visitors. Over time, the measures have evolved with a particular focus on prevention, using technology and effective sharing of information. Safety remains a top priority for (this) destination.”
The chief editor of Travel Weekly, Arnie Weissmann, believes that the circumstances of the Orland attack are significantly different than attacks in Europe and that tourists should understand this before canceling their traveling plans in Florida. “The very nature of the Paris attacks — multiple coordinated attacks, involving many attackers and hitting several leisure sites, made the whole city seem like the target of one or more terrorist cells. In Orlando, it was an individual, acting alone, and there are now suggestions that he was a very unstable individual. It may turn out to be viewed more like the tragic hate crime in Charleston than the Paris or Brussels airport attack. On one hand, this incident produces anxiety, which may make people want to stay closer to home. Personally, I hope the reaction is the opposite — that people decide it’s a statement against terrorism to be bold and travel freely,” Weissmann declared.
At the same time, the FBI is trying to find out if other locations such as Walt Disney World in Orlando were scouted for an attack by shooter Omar Mateen, in order to enhance security in the area and prevent further tragic events.