Agents' Choice 2018

Porter Brings Florida’s Space Coast Closer to Home

Residents in a trio of Ontario cities are now being offered direct Porter Airlines flights to Florida’s Space Coast, home to varied attractions that includes the site that sends objects skyward to heights that far surpass the altitudes the Porter planes reach on their journeys south.

Porter now has direct service to Orlando-Melbourne International Airport from Toronto, Ottawa and Windsor, with Ottawa and Windsor service running through March and Toronto service continuing until April 7.

“We know that there is a significant demand from Canadians to visit Florida during the winter and Orlando-Melbourne is a fantastic gateway for travellers to see the variety of Atlantic Ocean coastal experiences and major attractions,” Michael Curmi, director of Porter’s agency sales and distribution, said during a Jan. 11 Toronto gathering.

Orlando-Melbourne International Airport is making its mark in party by greeting those arriving from foreign destinations with bilingual or multilingual “international ambassadors” who immediately offer the new arrivals orange juice.

Airport spokesman Rob Himler also noted that the facility has completed a US$9-million renovation.

Bonnie King of Space Coast Florida in turn told the gathering that her region has 72 miles of beaches, wildlife – including alligators and manatees “galore”, – and the only zoo in the United States that provides opportunities for “kayaking around the animals.”

Visitors are about an hour by car from popular Orlando, with Walt Disney World being less than an hour, enabling tourists to stay in Space Coast Florida and visit Orlando’s theme parks during the day.

But the area’s most famous draw is the Kennedy Space Center, billed as “the place where humankind first left Earth to explore the heavens” and which chronicles the US space program. Visitors can, among other things, stand next to the Space Shuttle Atlantis, meet former astronauts, and see actual rockets at a site where 30 to 80 rockets will be launched this year.

“We want to educate people about space flight and it’s never boring,” said the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s Gabriele Cornish, noting other available experiences at the “really interactive” facility include one that will “simulate living on Mars and having to do a mission.”

Pictured are Curmi and King.

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