ORLANDO — For a region that likes to bill itself as “the happiest place on Earth,” three shocking and tragic incidents over the course of a few days brought round-the-clock international coverage to the Orlando area – and not in the way the city wanted.
But it’s not yet clear if these incidents — which include the worst domestic terrorist attack in the nation since 911 – will have a lasting impact on the Orlando area’s tourism industry. In fact, the president of the World Travel & Tourism Council predicted that Orlando’s tourist attractions would likely make a quick rebound.
For Orlando, the grim reports started on June 10, when Christina Grimmie, the 22-year-old singer from NBC’s “The Voice,” was fatally shot while signing autographs after a show at The Plaza Live theater in Orlando. A man approached her and opened fire. The shooter, later identified as Kevin James Loibl, shot and killed himself after the singer’s brother, Marcus Grimmie, tackled him.
The shock that that incident was rapidly followed by an even more devastating attack on Sunday, June 12, when a gunman entered Pulse, a gay nightclub near downtown Orlando, and shot and killed 49 people and injured 53 others. The shooter, Omar Mateen, was killed by Orlando police after a three hour standoff. Mateen had expressed hatred for gay people and had sworn allegiance to ISIS. Continue reading