Influx of international travelers to Disneyland and other California theme parks – Orange County Register

International visitors will soon be returning to Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and other California theme parks once the United States lifts the travel ban in effect throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United States will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated international travelers on November 8.

SEE ALSO: Disneyland teases the return of the beloved Main Street Electrical Parade

International visitors arriving by air to the United States will be required to show proof of vaccination and negative results from a recent COVID-19 test.

The United States will accept international travelers who have received the Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson vaccine or any COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the World Health Organization. Children under 18 and visitors with medical conditions are exempt from vaccine requirements, but must still show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

The reopening of U.S. borders to vaccinated visitors has triggered an increase in searches and travel bookings, according to Visit California, the state’s Travel and Tourism Commission.

British Airways reported a 700% increase in searches for trips to the Los Angeles area following the announcement of the reopening of U.S. borders to international travelers, according to Visit California.

SEE ALSO: Disneyland car park trams return in early 2022

The return of international travel is expected to be a boon for major US theme park hubs in Southern California and Central Florida.

“Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort are delighted to welcome back our international visitors and are delighted to have their favorite experiences, rides and attractions in our theme park destinations,” said a spokesperson for Universal Studios Hollywood by email.

The majority of pre-pandemic international visitors to SeaWorld San Diego were from Mexico and China, park officials said. SeaWorld expects visitors from Mexico to return from November 8, followed by travelers from further afield in the spring.

Before the pandemic, international visitors accounted for 12% of all tourism spending in Anaheim and 33% in Orange County, according to Visit California.

“With Orange County welcoming 4.6 million international visitors in 2019, this highlights the economic power of international travel and the role it will play in Anaheim’s economic recovery,” said Junior Tauvaa, Director of Sales of Visit Anaheim, in a statement released by the nonprofit. “Home to world-class theme parks and shopping, Anaheim and Orange County will continue to attract international visitors. “

International visitors spent $ 28 billion in California in 2019, according to Visit California. Foreign travelers spend more, stay longer, and travel mid-week and off-season, making them the state’s most lucrative clients.

SEE ALSO: Disneyland sells its annual Magic Key pass for the highest price

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure topped the list for international travelers in Visit California’s most recent research conducted in September before the announcement of the US border reopening. The percentage of international visitors by country planning to visit Anaheim in the next 12 months: Mexico (52%), China (38%), Canada (26%), France (21%) and UK (20%).

Pent-up demand for California theme parks was one of the main reasons international travelers came to the United States, according to a 2021 national survey of visitors from Destination Analysts.

Theme parks were among the top reasons Chinese travelers visit the United States – with 37% of Chinese tourists in the Destination Analysts survey saying they plan to visit a theme park while on vacation.

Almost a third of Mexican travelers planned to visit an American theme park, according to the Destination Analysts survey. Theme parks were a top reason to visit the United States for tourists from the United Kingdom (22%), Canada (12%) and France (10%).

Brazilians lead the Destination Analysts survey with 39% of them saying they are motivated to visit the United States to see theme parks. Most Brazilians tend to visit Walt Disney World, with Brazilian tourists being among the largest group of foreign visitors to Orlando, Florida.

SEE ALSO: Disneyland brings back nearly 80% of its workforce with a full workforce expected by the end of the year

A recent Global Rescue Travel Safety Survey found that international travelers want outdoor activities in low-traffic and remote spaces, and the “business stuff” includes crowded destinations and mass events.

“Travel concerns are important, but are regularly overwhelmed by people’s desire to travel,” Dan Richards, Global Rescue travel crisis expert, wrote in a new column. “There is a huge pent-up demand for pleasure travel which will occur as soon as countries reduce or remove border restrictions.”

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