Mixed in with the likes of England, World of the Maya, Chicago, and The Netherlands, CNN has dubbed Orlando one of the nine world’s top tourist destinations for 2012. And it has nothing to do with any of the theme parks!
To come up with their list, CNN consulted four travel experts: Robert Reid, U.S. travel editor for Lonely Planet; Martin Rapp, senior vice president of leisure sales at Altour; Anne Banas, executive editor at SmarterTravel; and Jeanenne Tornatore, senior editor for Orbitz.com.
Reid gave reasoning for the Orlando recommendation:
By Orlando, I refer to Orlando the city,” he said. “Local Orlando (residents) will tell you that the amusement park scene has no connection to the city itself.
He cited Orlando’s lakes, museums and neighborhoods, including the Milk district, just off Robinson and Bumby. Of course, the hosting of the 61st NBA All-Star Game in February was mentioned as a factor as well.
But what seemed to really impress was the authentic Vietnamese food to be found in Orlando’s ViMi district.
According to Reid:
There’s this very big, wonderful, authentic, fantastic and tasty Vietnamese restaurant community called ViMi — it’s more authentic Vietnamese restaurants than you find in New York or San Francisco.
Here is the complete list of the top 9 destinations:
- World of the Maya
- Myanmar (also known as Burma)
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- The Netherlands
- Atlantic Canada
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