According to Visit Orlando, the behemoth tourism association for Orlando, the greater Orlando area was host to 74 million visitors in 2022. This marked a 25% increase in visitors over 2021, and an achievement of 98% of pre-pandemic levels.
Although a (small) percentage of those visitors went to Orlando for work-related reasons (perhaps a convention at the [also crazily too huge for anyone’s needs] Orange County Convention Center), the vast majority visited Central Florida to experience its theme parks. According to Forbes, the parks at Walt Disney World’s (WDW) and Universal Studios Florida’s (USF) respective resorts take up 5 places of the world’s 10 most-visited theme parks in 2022.
1. Magic Kingdom (WDW)
5. Islands of Adventure (USF)
6. Hollywood Studios (WDW)
7. Universal Studios Florida (USF)
9. Epcot (WDW)
Although some visitors drive to Central Florida, Orlando International Airport (MCO) handled about 55,000,000 passengers in 2022. However MCO should see a small boost in 2024, when Allegiant Airlines, the Las Vegas-based ultra low cost carrier, will begin to offer 3 destinations from the airport, effective late next spring.
The new routes will include Asheville, North Carolina (Asheville Regional Airport – AVL), Allentown, Pennsylvania (Lehigh Valley International Airport – ABE) and Knoxville, Tennessee (McGhee Tyson Airport – TYS). MCO announced the news on its social media on November 16th, which Allegiant included it in a press release.
More routes and airline options, you got it! We're thrilled to announce that @Allegiant will start service to/from our airport, May 2024 -offering fares as low as $49 one-way!
✈️ Asheville, NC-May 3rd
✈️ Allentown, PA-May 16th
✈️ Knoxville, TN-May 17th
💻 https://t.co/JoniN16NvY pic.twitter.com/ywkNKIDpWN
— Orlando International Airport (@MCO) November 16, 2023
All routes will begin in May and Allegiant says one-way fares are expected to range between $49 and $59.
All told, MCO will have 111 nonstop flights with the additional Allegiant Airlines routes. This is in top of the 66 routes Allegiant currently flies (and will continue to fly) in/out of Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), which is roughly 30 miles north-northeast of MCO.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary