April 16, 2014

Who Said That?

Florida's quote of the day

| 5/6/2013

"We don't want locals."

-- Sam Vaidya, of the 18-room Victoria Inn Motel in Osceola County

Back when International Drive was a short dead end and Orange County's giant convention center was just a dream, U.S. Highway 192 in Osceola County was Walt Disney World's doorstep, the road most Disney-bound tourists cruised in search of an affordable motel and a meal.

But for more than a decade now, what was once the region's main tourist strip has been more like Disney World's doormat. Hammered by recessions and hurricanes, some motels double as homeless shelters; empty restaurants and shops rot in place; and small-time attractions barely cling to life.

Meanwhile, more and more tourists looking for affordable lodging are drawn instead to the growing number of "value-priced" hotel rooms on Disney property.

Osceola now wants to bring back U.S. 192's glory days with what may be its most-ambitious rescue attempt yet for the 15-mile-long tourism corridor, which has been the county's major source of jobs and revenue since Disney came to town more than four decades ago.

Read more at the Orlando Sentinel.

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