TALLASSEE. — Visit Florida, the Sunshine State’s official tourism marketing agency has launched a new travel section that offers unique information specifically for members of the military and Armed Forces.
This new section on Visit Florida’s website is intended as a consolidated source of travel information specifically geared to the interests of service members, veterans, and their families on the fun things they can do in Florida.
The site includes information about discounts and experiences available to military members and their families. That includes:
- Military monuments
- Military memorials
- Annual and upcoming military-related events
- And military-themed museums
Why Was The New Military Site Launched?
Tourism remains one of Florida’s top economic industries, and last year the state attracted 127 million travelers from around the world. Visit Florida’s president and CEO, Dana Young, noted that visitors to Florida contributed $85.9 billion to the state’s economy and helped support 1.5 million jobs across the state in 2017.
This new site, Young added, is designed to help spread the word about Florida’s many military-themed attractions, events, and memorials.
“Florida is one of the world’s leading destinations and Visit Florida is dedicated to providing all our visitors with inspiring travel ideas,” said Young. “Through this new addition to our website, Visit Florida is showcasing the many military-friendly experiences available throughout the state. We are honored to provide our country’s servicemen and women with tailored visitor information, and will remain committed to ensuring military members, veterans, and their families feel welcome when creating lifelong memories in the Sunshine State.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis also praised the new site, noting that Florida remains a very popular attraction with veterans and members of the Armed Services.
“More than 1.5 million veterans call Florida home and the defense industry is one of the state’s top economic drivers,” said DeSantis. “Since taking office, I have made it a priority to enhance Florida’s reputation as the most veteran-friendly state in the nation. Visit Florida’s new military travel hub expands this initiative and further strengthens the bond between Florida and our nation’s heroes.”
Is Tourism Still Strong in Florida?
Florida attracted a record number of visitors last year: 127 million out-of-state visitors came to Florida in 2018, higher than the 118.8 million visitors who came here in 2017.
In 2018, the state attracted 111.8 million domestic visitors, an estimated 10.8 million overseas visitors, and 3.5 million Canadians.
More and more visitors are flying here. Visit Florida reports that travel at 18 Florida airports increased by 7.6 percent last year compared to 2017, with amounted to a record 93.9 million airline passengers selecting Florida as their top vacation spot.
Orlando also remains a tourism champion. In 2018, the City Beautiful attracted a record 75 million people, which made Orlando the most-visited destination in the United States. It represented a 4.2 percent increase over the number of visitors who came to Orlando in 2017.
Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel noted that “It was another record-breaking year for Orlando with both domestic and international visitation.” That included 69 million domestic visitors and 6 million international visitors.
The Orlando area is also home to the Museum of Military History. Located at 5210 W. 192 in Kissimmee, the 10,000 square foot museum provides interactive displays and exhibits beginning with historical photos, uniforms, and interpretations of those past wars, and offers guided as well as self-guided tours.
It also features veterans’ oral histories, as former or active duty servicemen and women recollect their military experience to share with visitors. Call 407-507-3894 to learn more.
To learn more about tourism and the many attractions in Orlando and the rest of the Sunshine State, log on to Visit Florida.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book When I Woke Up, You Were All Dead. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.