A recent study by the U.S. Commerce Dept. for the Orlando visitors’ bureau showed that the Orlando area saw an increase in Brazilian visitors. According to the Orlando Sentinel, about 1.3 million Brazilians visited Orlando last year. That number accounts for about one-third of all South American visitors to the area.
Visit Orlando commissioned the study from the Commerce Dept. Because of budget cuts over the past decade, Commerce stopped studying specific numbers of foreign visitors, relying instead on estimates.
Other major foreign contributors to the Orlando economy are an estimated 1 million Canadians and 750,000 Britons.
It was nice to see a straight-forward article from a LOCAL reporter about a LOCAL benefit from an INTERNATIONAL connection. (Orlando tourism’s Brazilian contingent grows sharply with improved head count)
Too often, too many local news organizations fail to see the connections.
Granted, in Orlando it is hard not to notice that there are a lot of foreigners at all the various amusement parks. But what so many fail to notice is that all those visitors can only show up thanks to U.S. foreign service officers around the world.
These FSOs issue the visas that most people from around the world need to visit the US.
A study some time ago in Florida showed that for each 82 visas issued in Brazil, one job in Florida is created. And the US embassy and consulates in Brazil issues tens of thousands of visas each year. (Just do the math on the 1.3 million visitors in Orlando and you will see that about 16,000 jobs were created just from Brazil.)
So with this kind of job-creating power, why do so many in the Congress want to cut the State Department’s budget? (The Ryan Plan — the gold standard for the GOP — wants to reduce the State Dept. to about 30 percent of its current size in 10 years.)
But that is a different issue.
For now, the issue is LOCAL news organizations need to pay attention to how they are affected by INTERNATIONAL events and circumstances.
In the case of Orlando and Brazil, the only reason so many Brazilians are able to go to Orlando is because Brazil has become a more wealthy country with a growing middle class. (And yes, the visas.) And Brazil got that way thanks to a lot of international trade and training, that included programs from the States.
Think about it, countries facing revolutions or economic upheavals do not make it easy for people to earn enough money to visit the US and spend money.
So yes, American journalists must keep track of what is going on overseas because much of what happens elsewhere can — and often does — have a DIRECT effect on LOCAL economies and individuals.