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.
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.
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.