Orange County

‘Revenge travel’: Central Florida seeing economic rebound as vaccines become available

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — It has a unique name.

“Let’s call it revenge travel,” said Alan Fyall with the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

That’s what we see right now in Central Florida. As more vaccines roll out and more tourist destinations open up, millions of people are ready to get out and go.

Experts said there is an economic rebound in full swing.

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“People are coming back,” Fyall said.

Over the past year, the wanderlust has been building for people. And if Disney and Universal Spring Break reservations are any indication, there are certainly a lot more tourists coming in the summer.

“Things over the past few weeks definitely have picked up considerably,” Fyall said.

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Fyall has been involved with tourism for 25 years, he said, “and this has been the hardest situation to predict.”

“I think everybody felt that once the vaccination started rolling out, then there would be a huge upturn,” Fyall said. “And that’s really what’s happened.”

With vaccinations available and several people at the theme parks and beaches for Spring Break, Fyall said the summer will bring even more visitors.

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“As soon as you get in that (habit), it just gives you a little bit more confidence to re-engage with things that maybe you’ve left alone for the past year,” Fyall said.

Dr. Sean Snaith, director of UCF’s Institute for Economic Forecasting, said the economic revival is what he’s been looking forward to.

“It’s looking like an economy in the midst of a robust recovery,” he said. “I think we’re in a far better place today than 99% of people would have said last April.”

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There’s also a lot of progress being made on the unemployment front.

This time last year, Florida saw record unemployment at 14%. The latest numbers show the state’s unemployment rate is around 4.7%.

Adam Poulisse,

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.