ORLANDO, Fla. – Local experts are expecting a busy summer for tourism in Central Florida.
A recent report from the Tourist Development Tax Collections showed Orange County received a 103.1% increase this April compared to last year.
Those numbers are promising, with the Special Olympics kicking off this weekend, and businesses on I-Drive say they’re ready for the next few months.
“People love it,” said Nurun Nehar as she showed off items displayed at her store.
Nehar has been working as a manager at the Bargain World gift shop for four months.
Before her current role, she spent time with similar companies, so she knows all about the large crowds of people that are coming into Central Florida this time of the year.
“International Drive is always busy. It’s always busy,” she laughed.
That’s something she’s looked forward to over the last few weeks. More tourists mean more business opportunities.
“From June, July, August, these three months are the number one time for our business, and we are really excited for that,” Nehar explained.
According to Visit Orlando, hotel bookings in the area for June and July are only slightly behind the 2019 numbers that were pre-pandemic.
They say those numbers could fluctuate, which means they could increase.
Nehar says her business has already increased its staffing to be prepared for any demands that need to be met.
“We have merchandise ready. Our floor is ready. The register is ready. Our everything is ready. We are ready.”
The gift shop manager says she looks forward to her interactions with the customers as the excitement for a busy summer sets in.
COVID slowed things down the past two years, but so far, it’s looking like a promising season ahead.
“I talk sometimes to the customers and they are really excited in Florida,” she said. “They say they love Disney. They love Universal. They love Florida. They love our items, so that’s the most important.”