International travel returns to OIA, boost to tourism expected

ORLANDO, Fla. — A big boost for tourism is expected at Orlando International Airport.

For the first time in more than a year and a half, international visitors are flying back into OIA.

On Monday, the first of four transatlantic flights since the COVID-19 ban went to place touched down at OIA around 3 p.m.

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Four Virgin Atlantic flights on the schedule are coming from the U.K. Two of the flights are from Manchester, and the other two are from Heathrow airport in London.

While domestic travel at OIA has already picked up and remains strong, airport officials hope today is the start of international travel gaining some traction.

READ: Coronavirus: US opens doors to fully vaccinated international travelers

For tourism here in Central Florida, the reopening of international travel is a welcome sign for things to come.

“Now I believe with this week with international travel coming from the U.K., that is going to bode well for our business community, small business and otherwise,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.

Read: Airlines expect surge in international passengers now that travel ban has been dropped

Here are the rules international travelers must follow.

International travelers will need to show proof of vaccination and a recent negative COVID-19 test.

Children ages 2 to 8 only need to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure.

Read: Foreign travelers flock to Florida as pandemic travel ban expires

Starting Monday, the U.S. border is also reopened to fully-vaccinated Canadian travelers.

Only fully-vaccinated travelers with proof of vaccination will be allowed to cross into the U.S.

Proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test will be required for re-entry into Canada.

READ: Orange County has reached COVID-19 herd immunity, health officials say

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Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.