Florida tourism officials: We’re not trying to lure you to Orlando
By Emily OstermanCNNMoney’s national security reporter and the Washington bureau chief of CNNMoney.
Florida tourism officials say they are not trying the lure of Florida’s weather or climate to lure visitors to the Sunshine State, nor are they trying to drive sales of the state’s popular theme parks, and that tourists will still be able to visit them.
“We’re not doing any marketing to drive visitors to Orlando or anything,” said Robert T. Smith, president and CEO of the Florida Department of Tourism.
“We’re very, very clear that we want you to come to Florida, we want people to come, but we’re not going to be pushing it.”
A new visitor to Orlando is not the only one to worry about tourism from North Korea.
Travel agencies have reported a rise in complaints from North Koreans and others who have been unable to find accommodations in the United States.
A group of about 100 North Koreans reportedly took their chances last month in Los Angeles by flying into San Francisco on a private jet.
In Florida, some business owners and others in tourism have been concerned that North Korea could retaliate against tourism companies for doing business with the country.
The North Korean Embassy in Washington has said that it has no plans to retaliate against Florida tourism.
In recent months, North Korea has been under increasing pressure to curtail its nuclear and missile programs, which it considers an existential threat to the United State.
But the country has maintained a strong, but still small, presence in Florida, with about 4,000 visitors last year.
While the state has seen a decline in North Korean tourists, it still accounts for about 10 percent of Florida tourism, which is nearly half of the total U.S. population.