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Front Page » Business & Finance » Foreigners do 70% of tourist spending

Foreigners do 70% of tourist spending

Written by on May 14, 2014
Foreigners do 70% of tourist spending

Overwhelmingly, overnight visitors to the Greater Miami area lodge in Miami Beach, followed by downtown Miami and the airport area. 

These findings and more on characteristics of visitor stays in Greater Miami in 2013 were presented to hoteliers and those in the tourism industry last week at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau’s State of the Industry #SoMiami presentation, hosted at the Bath Club in Miami Beach.

Who came to Greater Miami in 2013, where did they stay and how much did they spend?

The bureau presented data from surveys and studies collected and prepared by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Ipsos and Smith Travel Research to lay out the details.

In 2013, an estimated record-high 14.2 million visitors spent at least one night in the area, spending directly an estimated $22.8 billion. Of total visitors, just over 50% were international, although international visitors spent much, much more than domestic visitors.

“The international visitor represents 70% of the visitor spend here. 70% of the visitor spend. [They’re] slightly more than 50% of the pie, but we all know they stay longer and spend more. 70% spend,” emphasized William D. Talbert III, bureau president and CEO, at the presentation.

International feeder markets ranked by dollars generated for the area are, top to bottom, Brazil, Canada, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Germany, England, the Bahamas, Ecuador and France.

“The international [market] grew in 2013 slightly more than domestic,” Mr. Talbert said.

And how the international market is growing, and fast.

“It took us 25 years to have our first international feeder market to reach $1 billion. That was Brazil in 2010,” Mr. Talbert said. “We have the potential in 2014, [in just] four years, to double it to $2 billion,” he said.

But while the spending by international visitors in 2013 was 70% of the total to the domestic visitors’ 30%, individual domestic feeder markets still generate dollars for the area.

“What do you think is our number one domestic market?” Mr. Talbert asked the crowd. The answer is, resoundingly, New York.

“New York has always been our number one, and that’s a city… Right now we’re on pace to have New York as a $2 billion market for this community. And that’s without a multiplier… it’s direct expenditures,” Mr. Talbert said.

By comparison, the largest international feeder market is Brazil, closing in on being a $2 billion market as well. But Brazil is a country, Mr. Talbert pointed out.

After New York in size of domestic feeder market comes Chicago, followed by Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, Washington, Dallas, Los Angeles, Detroit and Houston.

Airport arrivals in 2013 set records in total, international and domestic arrivals, Mr. Talbert said. Greater Miami is one of the most profitable hubs in the world for the convention bureau’s partner American Airlines, he said. By far, overnight visitors get to Miami by air, 96% of arrivals in 2013.

Overnight visitors tend to flock to one of Greater Miami’s best-known assets: the beach. Of overnight visitors, 43.6% lodged in Miami Beach, followed by 18.1% in downtown Miami, 16.5% in the airport area, 10.8% in North Dade/Sunny Isles Beach, and the rest in Coconut Grove, Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, South Miami-Dade and Doral.

In 2013, as is most often the case, visitors tended to travel in pairs – 47.5% of overnight visitors were in a party of two, although parties of three or more increased by 0.7% and parties of one increased 3.2%.

Any area resident who has hosted out-of-town visitors will be unsurprised by overnight visitors’ most-liked feature in 2013 – 55.6% reported that their most-liked feature was “the weather.” However, when that question was posed to domestic visitors, 59.9% reported liking the weather most, while the most-liked feature for 56.9% of international visitors was shopping.

Moving forward, the bureau is looking toward the summer soccer season and is working to funnel World Cup traffic through Miami as spectators make their way to Brazil.