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T H I S I S S U E
You Have to Do the Little Things
02 Trick Your Kids Into Healthy Eating Who Would I Sue in a Self-Driving Car Accident?
Hold On to Your Memories Start the Day Right With This Granola
04 No Tourism, No Orlando!
No Tourism, No Orlando!
It’s January, which means we’re just hitting the peak of the winter tourism season here in Orlando. With a welcoming reputation and plenty to do, Orlando is a popular place to visit any time of year, but it is especially inviting right now for folks fleeing the colder temps up north. A lot of locals think our relationship with tourism really kicked off in the 1960s when Disney moved in. While that was certainly an important event in the history of the city, tourism and Orlando go back much further than that. Orlando wasn’t a very big city until the turn of the 20th century. In fact, back in the 1870s, it boasted less than a hundred residents. That may be hard to believe when you step out onto Orange Avenue today, but it’s true. Things didn’t pick up until the citrus boom — and bust — of the late 19th century.
In the decades that followed, it was hard to find a steady industry in Orlando. Citrus was good, and then it wasn’t. The land boom in the 1920s led to extensive development, but there weren’t always people to fill those houses. And when the Great Depression hit, things looked as dim as ever. But there was one industry that stayed steady throughout it all: tourism. Starting around the Spanish-American war, people realized Orlando was a great place to visit, especially in the winter. Not only was citrus in season at the time, but the weather was mild and the people were friendly. It was a good place to get away from it all, and tourists continued to visit during the First World War and even during the Great Depression.
A semi-regular military presence in Orlando helped cement its reputation as a place to visit. Service members remembered the great climate and friendly vibe and returned with their families after their time in the military was done. Of course, Disney arriving in the 1960s changed everything. It wasn’t the beginning of tourism in Orlando — not by a long shot. But it was the biggest development, bringing 13,000 jobs and over 15 million tourists to the sleepy little orange town. So when you see folks coming to visit our fair city, give them a smile, and remember Orlando tourism is as old as Orlando itself!
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