Tourism officials enjoy record summer
By Claudio Mendonça
This summer will be one to remember for Miami's hospitality industry. From June through August, county hotels averaged 67.6% occupancy, highest ever for the period and 6.3% above the same period in 2004.
Room rates soared, too, averaging $102 in the three months, up 11% from last year.
"These are historic numbers. For the first time, room rates exceeded $100," said William Talbert III, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. He said he expects the numbers to grow again next year.
Events that helped trigger an expanded influx, Mr. Talbert said, included the Meeting Professionals International's annual conference, which drew 3,500 participants; the Black Film Festival; the Sunglass Hut Swimwear Show; and the MTV Video Music Awards.
Because of the high volume of tourists, Mr. Talbert said, the county could use more five-star hotels. In the past five years, he said, Miami has been constructing more five-star facilities than any city in the world.
"Any five-star operation which is not here now wants to be here," he said, citing the 203-room Conrad Hotel in Brickell and the 91-room Victor on Miami Beach, which recently opened its first US operation here. "I predict more hotel developments in the near future."
For fall and winter, the bureau is touting several key events.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association's annual meeting in October is to bring 3,000 attendees and a $5 million impact. The American Nurses Credentialing Center meeting in October is luring 2,500 nurses. The International Tile & Stone Expo in March is expected to attract 10,000 visitors with a $2.8 million impact. And the American Academy of Allergy and Asthma in March expects 7,000 persons generating an impact of $14.6 million.