Miami tourism emerges from natural disasters, registers growth

 Thursday, May 3, 2018 


Miami tourismMiami’s tourism industry has taken a few blows over the past several years. Miami battled Zika and Hurricane Irma and the economic crisis in Brazil, Miami’s top inbound traveller market.

However, now it’s moving into 2018 with most of those hardships behind it.

“Those were headwinds and now we are going to have tailwinds,” said William D. Talbert III, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, at its annual State of the Tourism Industry meeting.

Addressing business leaders and elected officials at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science Tuesday, Talbert highlighted Miami’s tourism industry’s above-average performance in 2017 — despite the headwinds.

About 15.9 million people visited Miami in 2017, an increase of nearly one per cent over the prior year. The increase was thanks to a 2.3 per cent bump in international visits, which offset a 0.5 per cent decrease in the number of domestic travellers who stayed overnight in Miami.

Fewer Canadians visited Miami in 2017 than they did in 2016, but the country retained the top spot as the No. 1 source market for international travellers. That top spot had long belonged to Brazil, which plummeted by 26 per cent less visitors in 2016 and another 5 per cent in 2017, year over year. But those challenges were balanced by a 2 per cent increase in visitors from Colombia, an 8.2 percent increase in travel from Argentina and a 12.5 percent bump in German travellers to Miami.

On the domestic side, travellers from about half of the top 25 markets, including No. 1 New York, visited Miami less in 2017 than they did in 2016, while the other half increased their visits. As a result, domestic visitors remained about flat last year.

In all, Miami tourists spent a record-breaking $26 billion in the region in 2017, an increase of 2.1 percent compared to 2016.

Despite a September dip in visitors due to Hurricane Irma, local hotels ended the year 1.5 per cent more occupied on average than they were in 2016. Still, the average room rate dropped slightly by 0.6 per cent to $188.81 in 2017, from $189.98 in 2016.


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