International flights could be returning to Orlando International Airport

Video: International flights could be returning to Orlando International Airport

ORLANDO, Fla. — The federal government made a move that could mean a shot in the arm for the tourism industry in central Florida.

For months, travel restrictions have forced international travelers from certain countries to be funneled through 15 specific airports across the country. Orlando International Airport was not one of them, but that restriction will be lifted starting next week.

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Since the pandemic hit, there’s no doubt Orlando International Airport has been hurting financially. Fewer passengers flying in has meant fewer tourists visiting theme parks, staying in hotels and spending money around central Florida.

The federal government mandated flights from certain countries to be funneled through 15 airports across the United States for extra screening and Orlando International wasn’t one of those airports.

In July, we showed you OIA and several large businesses, including Disney and Universal, sent a letter asking to add Orlando International to the list. That never happened.

The CDC just announced an end to those restrictions and screenings, which appears to open the door to more international flights here in Orlando.

University of Central Florida economist Dr. Sean Snaith says even though international visitors are a small percentage of overall tourists, this could be a decent boost since international travelers tend to stay longer and spend more.

We’ve reached out to OIA and asked what this specifically could mean for the airport, but haven’t heard back.