Tourism in Miami sets record in 2018, surpassing 2017 gains

January 19, 2019

Tourism had “a record 2018, building on a record 2017,” said Rolando Aedo, chief operating officer of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. Hotel occupancy rates and average room rates up, as well as the revenue per available room (RevPAR). “RevPAR is what the hotel industry really cares about; it’s the holy grail,” said Aedo.

For the first 11 months of the year, room rates up 5.7%, occupancy countywide was up .07%, and RevPAR “experienced a healthy gain” of 6.6%, he said. On Miami Beach, occupancy was up 4.9%, rates 9.5% and RevPAR a significant 15.1%. The reason is that the Deauville and Ritz Carlton South Beach remain closed since Hurricane Irma. “The supply is slightly reduced, so hoteliers are bullish on prices,” completed Aedo.

In downtown Miami, rates increased by 4.1%, hotel occupancy was up 1.4%, and RevPAR was up 5.6%. “That’s a nice increase in RevPAR, and it translates to robust growth in hotel tourist taxes.” “Those taxes support the quality of life we are able to enjoy.”

The clear majority, about 80% of visitors, are leisure travelers, with the balance coming to Miami for meetings and conventions, a share that’s expected to grow with the re-opening of the Miami Beach Convention Center.

“The final touches of a $600 million-plus renovation are being done now, and voters approved an 800-room convention hotel that will add significantly to our capacity to host conventions.” The hotel is expected to be completed in 2022-23.

International visitors came primarily from Canada, Colombia, Argentina, Germany, and Brazil; top US feeder markets were New York City. “Through November, MIA had served 818,000 more travelers year over year, putting it on track to surpass 45 million annual passengers for the first time, also a new record.” Final audited traffic statistics will be released soon, according to a release.

According to the convention and visitor bureau’s newsletter, domestic arrivals for the first 11 months of 2018 were 10.5 million, up 2.4% from 10.3 million domestic entries for the first 11 months of 2017. International arrivals increased 1.2%, to 10.1 million last year from 10 million in 2017. Total arrivals rose 1.8%, from 2017’s 20.3 million to 2018’s 20.6 million.

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