Osceola County projects all-time tourism high



OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Osceola County is about to spend some big bucks to help boost tourism to an all-time high.

WFTV learned Old Town in Kissimmee has had just as many visitors as before the recession five years ago, and officials want to take advantage of it.

If projections are accurate, Osceola County could be making a comeback this year.

Tourism leaders want to get more aggressive in attracting families to local attractions, restaurants and hotels. For the first time since 2007, the Visitor and Convention Bureau is working to expand.

A total of 13 new positions could soon help market Kissimmee and Osceola County to the world. Positions that could be opening up include a marketing specialist and an expert on social media.

US 192 is still plagued with properties that have fallen into disrepair and many hotels are currently housing homeless families.

Commissioner John Quinones told WFTV work is also under way to speed up improvements in the tourism corridor.

"I have spoken to hoteliers who have invested money. Once they see government invest in the infrastructure, they will invest their hotels," he said.

There are signs the work will pay off. The Visitor and Convention Bureau is projecting 6.4 million overnight visitors this year. Osceola County hasn't seen numbers like that since 2007, they said.