- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The utopia that is Orlando, Florida, relished its record-setting numbers in 2015 and was positioning itself to at least maintain itself as a must-visit travel destination, but Sunday’s carnage at the Pulse gay nightclub has experts wondering whether tourists will ask, “Should I stay or should I go?”

From all corners of the world, families trek to Orlando’s renowned amusement venues — Sea World, Universal Orlando and Disney World, which is the largest single taxpayer in the state.

There’s no way yet to tell whether the man-made American horror story at Pulse will push tourism numbers up or down at this early stage. But it doesn’t help that what happened remains on the lips, eyes, ears and fingertips of the masses.

One of the Pulse victims was 22-year-old Luis S. Vielma, who worked on the “Harry Potter” ride at Universal.

“Potter” creator J.K. Rowling tweeted Monday that his death left her in tears.

“I can’t stop crying,” she wrote.

The parks have, of course, beefed up security since, and visitors said they expected as much and don’t mind.

Tourism experts, meanwhile, expect a downturn but hope for a bounce-back regarding their industry’s bottom line: a $60 billion economic engine that welcomes more than 66 million people in 2015.

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