CDC updates travel guidelines; boost expected to Central Florida’s economy

The CDC says fully vaccinated people can travel with low risk and without quarantining. As more people get vaccinated, Central Florida economic experts say it’s going to help the state’s bottom line. 

Travelers at Orlando International Airport tell FOX 35 Orlando they felt more comfortable traveling because they were vaccinated. 

“We’re vaccinated so that made a big difference,” said Caryn Putchat, who was traveling to Orlando from Baltimore. “It puts us at less risk of catching it and less risk of giving it to other people, and that’s important to us.”

The CDC released a highly anticipated update to travel guidelines Friday, which says people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and traveling within the U.S. will not have to quarantine. 

The owner of On Deck Travel, Effie Walthall, says the new CDC guidelines, along with more people getting vaccinated have been bringing in business.

“Starting Monday, the floodgates opened,” Walthall said. “People are calling me saying, ‘Effie, I’m vaccinated. Where can you send me? I’m ready to travel.’ So, I think the vaccine is a force to get people to travel again.”

Visit Orlando says the updated guidelines will work toward recovering Florida’s travel and tourism industry. 

The Visit Orlando CEO said in a statement to FOX 35 Orlando: 

“The CDC’s updated guidelines for travel for fully vaccinated people is an important step in the recovery of Orlando’s travel and tourism industry which brings a 75 billion impact to our local economy and supports 41% of our workforce. We still have progress to make, including opening up international travel, but this update adds to our optimism that recovery is on the horizon.”

Director of the Institute of Economic Forecasting at UCF Sean Snaith says the travel and tourism industry in Central Florida is trending up.
“I would expect to see that this recovery and travel will accelerate as we move through 2021,” Snaith said. 

He says it would not only help places like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios but the surrounding businesses and their employees too. 

“The tourism industry is the most directly impacted by the number of visitors we get in the region, but you have to understand that impact spreads throughout the economy,” Snaith said.

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The Importance of Travel & Tourism in Driving Global Economy

Restoring international travel and tourism will be vital to enhancing social progress and driving the global economy post-pandemic, according to a new Social Impact Paper released by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in collaboration with U.S.-based nonprofit Social Progress Imperative (SPI).

The research paper shows significant correlations between WTTC’s Economic Impact Report data and SPI’s Social Progress Index scores over the last decade, with China, Cambodia, Rwanda and Sri Lanka among the biggest beneficiaries.


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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

Based on the research, travel and tourism enriches communities at a faster rate than the overall economy. For example, between 2011 and 2019, Southeast Asia recorded the fastest annual growth rate in travel and tourism GDP per capita at 6.7 percent compared to the region’s 3.7 percent overall economic growth. What’s more, the Middle East saw 3 percent travel and tourism GDP per capita growth compared to just 0.3 percent for the overall region’s economy.

The data also puts the travel and tourism industry’s impact on jobs in perspective. Globally, one job is created for every 34 international visitors to a destination. But the impact is far greater in regions such as Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, where it only takes 11, 13 and 24 international visitors, respectively, to create one new job. For every direct job created globally, nearly two new jobs are created on an indirect or induced basis, the paper shows. This means one direct job in the travel and tourism sector creates a total of three jobs.

The WTTC’s latest economic modeling estimates that as many as 174 million travel- and tourism-related jobs were impacted globally in 2020. The pandemic has hit some countries harder than others, however.

The latest research from WTTC and SPI also reveals that for every $1 generated in direct travel and tourism GDP globally, more than $2 is generated indirectly.

“WTTC is proud to release this important research focusing on social impact, which highlights how critical travel and tourism is to our world,” WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara said in a statement. “Travel and tourism is one of the most diverse sectors, employing people from all socio-economic backgrounds regardless of age, gender or ethnicity, with almost 54 percent of whom are women and up to 30 percent youths.”

“After nearly a full year of insecurity and hardship that has come from the COVID-19 pandemic, the time could not be more appropriate to celebrate the importance of the sector,” she concluded.

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