Central Florida businesses can’t wait for overseas travelers


ORANGE COUNTY, Florida – News that international travelers will soon be allowed to travel to the United States again after a ban due to the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to trigger pent-up demand to come to Florida, but businesses from central Florida could be even more excited.

David Bobola, a knight at the Medieval Times for over a dozen years, and his fellow competitors feed off the roars of the crowd for a solid performance.

What would you like to know

  • Central Florida businesses hope international visitors give them a boost
  • On November 8, the United States to relax travel restrictions imposed due to COVID
  • Visit Orlando: International visitors to area plunged to around 1.6 million in 2020
  • Meanwhile, managers have been working hard to attract more local consumers

“The more people you have here, clapping and stepping in, also stimulates us,” said Bobola, his hand gripping a battle ax. “So they’re excited, we’re excited.”

The White House said on Friday it would lift restrictions on fully vaccinated travelers from more than 30 countries, provided they can also produce a negative COVID test within 72 hours of travel and provide contact tracing information .

“We deepened our discussions with the local market a lot, knowing that the international market would be very far away and not knowing when they would return,” said Shaira Graulau, Marketing Director of Medieval Times.

According to Visit Orlando, the Orlando area in 2019 welcomed just under 6.5 million international travelers. In 2020, that number has plunged almost 75% to less than 1.6 million. But even if the numbers for 2021 are expected to be even smaller, 2022 is improving.

Since reopening in the summer of 2020, Medieval Times has really taken a hit. Not only is the dining and entertainment venue operating at half capacity for safety reasons, it’s also down to four shows a week.

“We had smaller shows, but everything went well,” Bobola said. “From that starting point, we continued to grow and attract more people.

“We kind of get a good response from everyone – the kids, the adults, they’re all excited,” Bobola said with a smile. “I just think it’s really cool to get people from all over to come to this place.”

Crowds start to fill up, and soon the Knights hope to take center stage again in front of a sold-out crowd.

Executives at Medieval Times say they hope to add more shows to their schedule around Thanksgiving, with more tourists arriving.

The country from which Orlando receives the most foreign tourists, according to Visit Orlando, is Great Britain, followed by Brazil and Colombia. Britain and Brazil, at a minimum, are among the countries from which travelers will be allowed under the relaxed restrictions.

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