The Power Of Place - Miami Sets New Tourism Record, Despite Hurricane Irma
The tourism and hotel sectors had to overcome significant obstacles in 2017, including, Hurricane Irma in September, a 3.2% increase in hotel room inventory and the closure of the Miami Beach Convention Center for expansion and renovation.
MIAMI—After setting records last year, the tourism sector in Greater Miami continued its strong performance in the first quarter with hotel occupancy increasing 4.3% as compared to the same period in 2017.The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau reports the region saw $26 billion in expenditures by overnight visitors to Greater Miami in 2017, representing a 2.1% increase over the previous year.
The Greater Miami average hotel room rate rose by 11.8% and revenue per available hotel room (RevPar) shot up 16.6%, in the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter of last year, according to statistic compiled by Smith Travel Research.Greater Miami’s hotel performance in the first quarter positions the region as the number one location across all three major hotel metrics among the top 25 markets in the U.S.The tourism and hotel sectors had to overcome significant obstacles in 2017, including, Hurricane Irma in September, a 3.2% increase in hotel room inventory and the closure of the Miami Beach Convention Center for expansion and renovation.
The bureau attributes the record-breaking tourism numbers in 2017 and the positive momentum this year in part to its “Hotel’s First” marketing initiative launched in the summer of 2017 as well as to Greater Miami’s strength in the international market. International arrivals at Miami International Airport rose 0.4% in 2017 over the record-breaking 2016.Another contributing factor, according to Bruce Orosz, GMCVB chair, was a number of major global sporting events that took place in Greater Miami— Major League Baseball All-Star Game Week; International Champions Cup (Real Madrid vs. Barcelona), Pan American Weightlifting Championships; USA Weightlifting American Open Series II and the Jewish Community Centers (JCC) Maccabi Games.
“These events, which took place during the summer of 2017, helped fuel a record-breaking month of July across all hotel performance metrics including record-breaking number of rooms sold, occupancy and RevPar,” Orosz says.Some of the record-breaking tourism metrics in 2017 for Greater Miami included employment in the leisure and hospitality industry grew by 2.4%, reaching a record 144,800 jobs in Miami-Dade for 2017. Overnight visitors reached a record 15.9 million in 2017, representing a nearly 1.0% increase compared to 2016. Demand for the destination grew by 4.7% with hotels selling more room nights in 2017 compared to 2016, also a new record.The cruise industry also saw significant growth in 2017, posting a record- breaking 5.3 million passengers sailing in 2017, an increase of nearly 5%.A positive for the tourism sector is the planned September opening of the $625 million redeveloped Miami Beach Convention Center.
The bureau reports that more than 20 conventions have already been booked in the new facility, including the American Health Information Management Association annual convention, which will inaugurate the new venue, followed by the CA Technology annual convention, which has committed to the venue for at least three years.