Miami welcomed a record-breaking 16 million visitors between late 2017 and mid-2018, a number that was achieved despite the destination being hit by Hurricane Irma.
The increase in overnight visitors drove even more good news for the destination, including a record-breaking $26.5 billion in expenditures, which is an increase of more than two percent compared to the same time period the previous year.
The strength of Greater Miami’s travel and tourism industry is especially evident in hotel performance where revenue per available room (RevPar) grew by more than +10% over the same time period the previous year, according to data released by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB).
“Tourism growth was predominately due to leisure business as the $620-million renovated Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) remained offline to conventions during the construction process,” the GMCVB said in a statement. “Now, as the new MBCC nears completion and can once again host citywide conventions, the destination is poised to benefit from further economic impact generated by the meetings industry.”
The bureau described the convention center as the anchor for the city’s meetings and conventions industry.
Newly reimagined with an injection $620 million, the expanded MBCC includes a new 60,000 square-foot-grand-ballroom, 500,000 feet of exhibit space, 84 breakout rooms, and a new six-acre public park to serve as incremental event space.
In September, Miami and the Beaches welcomed the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), its first citywide convention since the MBCC began its multi-phase renovation project.
This week the destination will host The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) in the convention center’s newly transformed four interior halls.
Over the course of just two months, the two conventions are forecasted to generate about $10 million in economic impact for the local community, the GMCVB said.
“Tourism numbers are up at record-breaking levels in the destination despite a hurricane and a convention center that was offline to citywide conventions during renovations,” said William Talbert, III, CDME, president and CEO for the GMCVB. “Thanks to community partnerships, tourism infrastructure investment and GMCVB destination marketing programs, the tourism industry remained vibrant and steadfast while fueling growth in hospitality jobs for the community. The travel industry’s future is bright for Greater Miami.”
During the first nine months of 2018, Greater Miami and the Beaches led the rate of growth in hotel revenue-per-available-room (RevPar), hotel occupancy and hotel room rate among STR’s top 25 hotel markets in the country.
The bureau attributes that success in part to its own “Hotels First” Marketing Initiative, which positions hotels as the focal point of a visitor’s vacation.
That marketing initiative worked in tandem with the GMCVB’s “Found in Miami” global marketing campaign calling on travelers to discover the rich heritage of greater Miami’s multicultural neighborhoods.
The bureau also recently formed a few new divisions, that have also contributed to the destination’s success. The Multicultural Tourism & Development division and the Sports & Entertainment Tourism division have re-energized two emerging sectors and generated increased hotel demand.