Storms steer tourists away .jpg

Storms steer tourists away

A travel industry survey claims that US holidaymakers are choosing to spend their vacations in California this summer, displacing Florida for the first time.

It seems that fears of another devastating hurricane season are putting holidaymakers off travelling to Florida, boosting tourism in California instead. Florida attractions fear that the trend is likely to spread to overseas visitors too.

The news comes as the storm season builds toward its annual peak in August and September. Hotels and tourist attractions, which once thought hurricanes were a coastal problem, are now facing the reality that storms crossing the Florida peninsula can inflict massive damage many miles inland. Flashlights and water supplies are being stocked up for those hardy guests that have braved the weather as they prepare for the worst.

Meanwhile, Orlando airport is reeling, after poor customer satisfaction surveys criticised long waits at baggage reclaim and queues in the food court. Orlando International plummeted 13 places from its number one position and fell below the average for large airports, according to the 2006 J.D. Power and Associates North America Airport Satisfaction Study.

However, Orlando is still on a par with other leading airports on check-in and terminal facilities, according to the study. Two years ago, when the survey was last conducted, Orlando scored highest among US airports. Now, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas has jumped into top place, followed by JFK in New York and Philadelphia International. Miami International scored three notches ahead of Orlando in the study.