‘Travel and tourism will be the world’s largest businesses by 2000.” Whether you agree with the forecast or not, it is a possibility that should be studied by anyone who has a stake in Florida – particularly in Central Florida, where tourism has long since dethroned citrus to reign as king.
The statement is made rather matter-of-factly in a broad overview of the U.S. hotel industry in the February issue of Investor Outlook, a quarterly publication of Grubb & Ellis Co. The San Francisco real estate company has offices in Tampa and South Florida, and it is showing an interest in opening an Orlando branch.
There are already 2.9 million hotel rooms available in the United States, according to the report, with annual revenue of $50 billion. To understand where the hotel industry may be headed, one has only to look back a few years. In 1973, hotel revenue was about $14.2 billion.
The opening of Walt Disney World in Orlando in 1971 ushered the nation into the new era of hotels, triggering an expansion of the hotel market to previously unknown heights.