Florida’s hot hospitality industry continues to sizzle

Labor Day signaled the official end of summer, but don’t panic. We live in the Sunshine State, which means we’re always on vacation, right?

Well, maybe not, but our year-round warmth, international access and unique offerings (think The Keys, The Everglades and The Mouse) attracts millions of visitors a year. New data released by Visit Florida confirms that the State’s record-breaking tourism streak is in full swing, with more than 54 million people visiting during the first half of 2015 – a 6% increase over 2015 levels.

Gale Boutique Hotel and Residences in Fort Lauderdale

More visitors means more investment in the hospitality sector and a strengthening tourism economy. And with all corners of the tourism economy humming along, big brands and small brands alike are gravitating to the Sunshine State.

Orlando welcomed 62 million-plus visitors in 2014 according to recent data from Visit Orlando, making it one of the world’s most visited destinations. Now we’re seeing the dollars flow in. A new $600 million Margaritaville resort is set to open in 2017, with the goal of capturing growing demand among multi-generational travelers.

Further south, Guy Harvey Outpost, a brand that connects its guests with the great outdoors, is bringing a new property to the shores of Lake Okeechobee.

In Fort Lauderdale, we’re seeing an influx of well-known flags like the Four Seasons and Conrad and smaller boutiques like The Gale breaking ground, positioning the market as an upscale but laid-back alternative to Miami Beach.

Intercontinental Miami lobby

Twenty miles south, downtown Miami’s transformation into a global destination continues. Established hotels like the InterContinental Miami are enjoying record-setting occupancy year after year just as new brands prepare to enter the market. Outposts of Hong Kong-based EAST and Chile’s Atton Hotels will open next year, and a new 1,800 Marriott Marquis and adjacent expo center is planned for Miami Worldcenter.

From booming metro areas to bustling small towns, Florida tourism is running on all cylinders.