Hospitality Officials Hope To Ride Momentum
By Tom Harlan
Miami hospitality officials are banking on international tourists as well as in-state visitors to stretch the industry’s momentum through the usually slow days of summer.
Stuart Blumberg, president of the Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association, said resort-tax collections show marketing efforts are working.
Officials point to favorable currency-exchange rates for Europeans and the onset of winter in Latin America as advantages for South Florida’s tourism industry this summer.
Mr. Blumberg said he is confident the coming months will remain strong.
"It was probably one of strongest winters I’ve seen, and I’ve been in the industry 48 years," he said. "We’re back."
Hotel occupancy has been higher in six of the past seven months than the six-year average, according to Smith Travel Research.
Business and vacation travel is up, said Brian Ferguson of Smith Travel. Hotel occupancy in Miami-Dade for April was 73.8%, the highest for the month since 2000.
In addition, the average daily room rate in the first three months of this year was $140, the fourth-highest in the nation, Mr. Ferguson said.
William Talbert III, president of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, said increases in average daily rates and occupancy are significant because the area has added hotel rooms.
In addition to advertising Miami as an international destination, Mr. Talbert said, the bureau is encouraging Floridians to vacation in their own state.
The Transportation Security Administration is taking steps this week to reduce waiting times at Miami International Airport, said Lauren Stover of the agency’s regional office. The agency plans to increase the number of security workers at the airport from 1,000 to about 1,400.