Tourism Job Growth Reflects Miami As Yearround Destination
Written by Charlotte Libov on September 7, 2006
By Charlotte Libov
Job-growth figures support the claim that Greater Miami is now a year-round travel destination, according to tourism officials here.
"Years ago, many of the hotels on the beach were closed during the summer," said William D. Talbert, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Tourism Bureau. He said it was a trend that continued for a number of years with "everybody heading north" when summer approached.
But recently job figures show that about 3,000 more people were employed in the tourism and leisure industry in June and July than in January and February, traditionally the height of the tourism season. A total of 205,300 people worked in the sector in June and July, compared to 202,300 in January and February.
"For July, we show an increase of 3.6 %. We had one of the highest percentage increases of any segment increase in Miami. This is a new job pattern for us. Years ago, it would have been a decline," Mr. Talbert said.
He said hospitality employment remains on the upswing, with a 2.9% increase in tourism jobs in the first five months of this year from a year earlier.
According to Mr. Talbert, the job numbers along with a rise in tourist-tax revenue and hotel occupancy continue to show strong tourism demand.
"We spend a lot of our marketing efforts and dollars to promote summer tourism, and we’ve worked very hard over the past four to five years creating and establishing the summer tourism program. Jobs are probably the single best indicator that there is in fact year-round tourism in Miami," he said.
He attributed the strong figures to Miami Spice, a promotion in which more than 80 restaurants offer discount meal prices in July and August, and to the area’s attractiveness.
"The Miami Brand is very, very strong around the world," he said. "The buzz about Miami continues. It’s the place to be. Everyone wants to come here, and they want to come here all the time."