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Travel Scene: Record-setting tourism year for Orlando, NYC

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Orlando and New York City have been popular attractions for visitors for years. And 2014 was no exception, with both cities setting records.

Taking Orlando first, more than 62 million visitors came to the central Florida city, making the theme park mecca the most visited tourist destination in the U.S., and also setting a new milestone for the U.S. tourism industry.

The new figure was a 5 percent increase over 2013 totals, according to Visit Orlando, the city’s tourism agency. And Roger Dow, the president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, called the number “a significant achievement for Orlando and the U.S. travel industry,” according to an Associated Press account.

Orlando officials attributed the increase to renovations and expansions of the area’s many theme parks: Universal Orlando opened Diagon Alley, its second Harry Potter-themed attraction, while Disney World completed New Fantasyland.

New York’s accomplishment was noteworthy as well. It welcomed 56.4 million visitors in 2014 — some 2 million more than the previous year — a new record for the city.

New York City claims status as the nation’s No. 1 big city destination, the No. 1 port-of-entry for foreign visitors and the No. 1 city for tourism spending, according to a news release issued by NYC and Company, its tourism marketing agency.

Carnival will add more cruise ships

Carnival Corp., already the world’s largest cruise company, has announced it will increase its fleet capacity significantly in the next several years.

The company has signed an agreement with two European shipyards to add nine new ships from 2019 to 2022.

The new ships will serve established sailing grounds in North America and Europe, as well as emerging markets such as China, the Miami-based company said in a news release.

The company owns nine cruise lines that currently operate a combined total of 101 ships. Carnival’s cruise brands include Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, Cunard, Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK) and P&O Cruises (Australia).

Atlantic City plans for redevelopment

Atlantic City has announced redevelopment plans, which include a giant Ferris wheel and zip line on the beachfront next to the Steel Pier, and restaurants, a rebuilt Boardwalk and an elevator walkway in the Inlet neighborhood. The plans come as Atlantic City has lost four of its 12 casinos and is trying to make its tourism-centered economy less dependent on gambling, notes the Associated Press.




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