Harry Potter Leading Orlando Hotel Hike

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando is so popular it is actually driving up rates at area hotels.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, prices at hotels in the Orlando area are showing their first increases in prices in two years, and hoteliers are crediting the new attraction.

"We're definitely inching up on our rates," John Parkinson, general manager of the Embassy Suites Orlando on International Drive, tells the Sentinel.

According to statistics released this week by Smith Travel Research, and published at the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau website, operators in Orlando, the nation's second-biggest hotel market, filled 66.1 percent of their rooms in June, an increase of 4.2 percent from a year earlier.

The average daily room rate rose 2.1 percent in June to $91.07, the first such year-over-year improvement since June 2008.

Wizarding World at Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park has been drawing huge crowds since it opened in June.

The Orlando hotel market still offers plenty of discount rates, officials say.

"Right now, there are still deals for the consumer," Rich Maladecki, president of the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association, tells the Sentinel.

But Maladecki adds that some hotels are reporting sellouts or near sellouts in July.

Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort
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