Travelers at Orlando International Airport said it’s a good thing that the U.S. will allow travel from countries previously banned due to COVID-19 as Central Florida continues to rebound from the pandemic. Airport and tourism leaders say they agree.

This comes as a new virgin Atlantic flight is scheduled to arrive to Orlando International Airport Monday afternoon from Europe.

“We can’t close it forever,” said Tabitha Wringle, who is traveling from Wisconsin.

Jerry Leonard, who is from Ireland but lives in Atlanta, agreed.

“I think it’s good,” Leonard said. “I’m glad to see it opening back up again.”

Beginning Monday, the U.S. will allow international travel from countries that were previously banned because of COVID, such as South Africa, Brazil, China, and most of Europe.

But for the most part, passengers MUST be vaccinated.

“We have to get there eventually,” Wringle said.

At OIA, the first Virgin Atlantic flight from Manchester, England is scheduled to arrive at 3:05 p.m. Monday.


“I came from overseas so it was a long time before I was able to get back again and I want to go back and see family,” Leonard said. “People want to see each other face-to-face again.”

Visit Orlando said it has been running international campaigns this fall promoting travel to Central Florida.

“We’re excited to have travel back, especially for the holiday season,” said Denise Spiegel, a Visit Orlando spokesperson.

With the border reopening Monday, international seat capacity on flights through OIA has risen by 40,000 from October to November.

It’s scheduled to increase by an additional 88,000 seats from international destinations in December.

“Pre-pandemic international visitors spent more than $6 billion in central Florida, so we excited for that recovery,” Spiegel said.

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