first ever transatlantic flight landed at Melbourne Orlando International Airport on March 22
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – You may have heard of the name TUI (pronounced too-ee) before. The importance of this tour operator and airline that transports visitors from the UK cannot be underestimated.
The first transatlantic flight landed at Melbourne Orlando International Airport at 4.30pm on March 22 and not only marks a milestone but also the start of flights from several UK cities throughout the week, including London, Manchester and Glasgow. .
The economic impact of the approximately 150,000 passengers it plans to bring in its first year of operation could amount to more than $20 million.
I calculated this based on only 25% of passengers staying 2 nights at local hotels. I was also using visitor spending data calculated primarily using domestic travelers and experience tells us that international visitors spend significantly more.
In fact, we’re going to be working with the airport to do an economic impact study to tell us exactly how much TUI passengers are spending here.
We also work with TUI on the marketing side so their passengers know what a great place we are and I’m confident we can make that percentage of people staying here much higher.
The impact is sure to be felt everywhere on the Space Coast, from hotels to restaurants to retail stores. And it’s not just a short-term affair. TUI has contractually committed to 7 years of flights to Melbourne.
One thing that is close to my heart is that once Britons start to see all that we have to offer on the Space Coast, they will be very excited to come here and tell their experience to their friends and family.
Sure, they can spend a few days or more at Orlando’s theme parks, but they’ll need a break just to relax, and we’ve got just what they need with our beaches and more relaxing nature experiences.
Even the Kennedy Space Center is more relaxed than the crowded theme parks to the west. I am convinced that the more passengers TUI brings here, the more repeat customers and referrals we will get.
In fact, they may even need to increase their capacity due to demand. So if you see anyone from the UK here, be sure to welcome them. They mean so much to our community and are part of what makes us such a great destination to visit.
THE BEST TAX REVENUE FIGURES IN HISTORY
The final figure was an incredible $2.297 million – an 80% increase from February 2020 and a 32% increase from February 2019, making it not only the best February in history (the 11th consecutive record month) but the best month for Tourist Development tax collection ever.
Year-to-date, we’re at $8.55 million, down from $4.88 million the year before and $6.78 million in 2019/20.
We continue to see strong demand and all sectors of the tourism economy seem to be doing incredibly well.
Looking at TDTs by type, hotels accounted for 65% of the total for the month and vacation rentals accounted for 33% of TDTs, which is usually around 30%.
In terms of hotel/motel revenue by city, Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral (31%) were, as usual, slightly ahead of Melbourne and the Beaches (29%) as a percentage of the total.
As for March and April, we believe we will have very strong spring break numbers and March should be another banner month, surpassing the big month we had in February.
– Peter Cranis, Executive Director of the Space Coast Tourist Board