Writer: Felipe Rivas
2 min read JUNE 2021 — The Orlando market is the country’s most popular Fourth of July travel destination this year as more than 47 million Americans kick off their summer travel plans, the AAA reported. Buoyed by the fully open local landscape, the Orlando International Airport (MCO) predicts more than three times as many travelers for the Independence Day break this year over 2020, figures that closely rival pre-pandemic levels.
Pent-up travel demand, a successful vaccination adoption rate and a local market that is in Phase 3 of the reopening plan point to a summer travel season that is expected to welcome more than 1.5 million travelers, according to the airport’s estimates. Orange County lifted its local state of emergency designation earlier in June, removing gathering restrictions and mask mandates as the county moves forward with its reopening. Approximately 60% of the eligible population is vaccinated in Orange County while the 14-day rolling positivity rate in the area is at 5% or below, allowing for the lifting of the emergency order, Spectrum News reported. “We’re simply trying to give guidance to our community with reasonable benchmarks, where people have an idea about what the living experience should be for them within our county,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings told News 6 at the time. “We still will have a number of tourists who will be coming in, who will be visiting in our county, because we’ll be in the midst of a very active summer vacation period of time.”
In anticipation of a busy holiday weekend, the busiest travel day for the 4th of July time frame will be Saturday, July 3, with more than 134,000 expected arrivals and departures, the airport predicts.
MCO welcomed approximately 500,000 travelers during this time last year. This year, the airport is expecting more than 1.5 million travelers. Though trending in a positive direction, and a far cry from last year’s travel figures, this year’s estimates expect 250,000, or 14%, fewer travelers when compared to 2019 figures.
However, the year-on-year increase in travel over the Independence Day break is yet another key benchmark in the local recovery efforts. During Spring Break, the region welcomed more than 600,000 more travelers year-over-year, according to Wow News Today. This was during a time where mask mandates and social distancing requirements were still under effect.
Overall, this year will be the second-highest Independence Day travel volume on record, trailing only 2019, the AAA reported. “Travel is in full swing this summer, as Americans eagerly pursue travel opportunities they’ve deferred for the last year-and-a-half,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “We saw strong demand for travel around Memorial Day and the kick-off of summer, and all indications now point to a busy Independence Day to follow.”
From Fourth of July firework shows to 5k runs to outdoor events and performances, there’s a plethora of family-friendly events happening in Orlando throughout the Independence Day break. Click here for a list of events.
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