South Florida tourism industry is recovering, Miami-Dade County leads country in occupancy levels

Posted at 1:00 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 13:00:45-04

The recent travel boom is an encouraging sign that South Florida’s tourism industry is recovering.

"We started seeing significant recovery for quite some time now," said Rolando Aedo with the Greater Miami Convention and Vistors Bureau.

Aedo said Florida is a hot spot. According to STR data, Miami's occupancy levels have hit well about the U.S. average in recent months. But it’s still not where it used to be.

"We’re selling not only the same number of rooms pre-covid but we’re selling them at significantly higher rates," said Aedo.

Aedo said it’s predominantly the beach hotels that are doing really well, but it’s beneficial to all of the Miami area.

"What we never expected was not only how busy we were going to be but how busy we continue to be," said Leslie Weil with Moxy South Beach.

Moxy South Beach, steps away from the beach, has been among those properties that have enjoyed a boom in bookings. Weil credits the surge of guests coming in from the northeast.

"There was a couple of months that there was a lot of people from Ohio. But I really think everybody was coming to Miami and escaping the cold because we were all trapped for so long," she said.

Air traffic is playing a big role for South Florida tourism. Aedo said Miami International Airport is practically at the same level it was in 2019.

"It’s about at 96%-97% of the volume of traffic that it was. We’ve been working closely with our partners. American airlines is our hometown carrier, they’ve been adding a significant amount of flights," said Aedo.

This is good news for Miami-Dade County. Part of this success can be attributed to GMCVB’s early efforts to support Miami-Dade’s tourism and hospitality businesses through their Miami Shines Campaign. The recovery program offers incentives for restaurants, hotels, museums and other attractions.

Aedo hopes the rebound will incentivize employees to go back to work.

"As things normalize and because of the additional commitments that our industry is making to the workforce, that they will not only come come back to the workforce but realize that it provides career opportunities in the long-term so they can develop themselves professionally within that as well," he said.

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