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.