Sunshine State looking healthy

Florida welcomed 105 million visitors in 2015, the fifth consecutive record year for visitation to the Sunshine State and exceeding the previous high of 98.5 million in 2014 by 6.6 per cent, according to Visit Florida.


The rush to the sun included 1.7 million UK visitors, a five per cent increase on 2014. The second-largest contingent of European visitors was the 452,000-strong German visitors.

For 2015, the average daily room rate (ADR) rose 5.9 per cent and the number of rooms sold grew by 4.5 per cent compared to 2014. Florida’s average occupancy rate for 2015 was 72.0%, an increase of 3.2 per cent over 2014.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said: “With five consecutive record years for tourism, it is time to set our goal even higher, and I look forward to welcoming 115 million visitors to the Sunshine State in 2016.”

Samantha Padgett, a Member of the Visit Florida Board of Directors and Vice President and General Counsel for the Florida Retail Federation, said: “Record tourism means great news for Florida’s 270,000 retailers who depend on Sunshine State travellers to purchase gifts and memories from their visit.”


Fort Lauderdale on growth path

The Greater Fort Lauderdale area’s growing popularity among international visitors is sparking a massive explosion of new and upgraded accommodation.

Fort Lauderdale

“There is so much going on and coming onboard over the next year or so that agents need to be aware of,” said Sophie Holloway, UK PR Account Executive for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Already proving popular with UK visitors is the new $147-million, 349-room Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort, now open on the Broadwalk and featuring eight restaurants/bars, three pools and a St. Somewhere Spa.

Beachwalk Resort also recently opened along the Intracoastal Waterway in Hallandale Beach, with 216 resort units, an infinity pool and restaurant. Its beachfront sister property HYDE Resort opens in 2017 with 367 units, a pool, spa and restaurant.

Meanwhile, The Pelican Grand Beach Resort has completed a six-million-dollarexpansion, which includes a new PURE indoor/outdoor spa overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, while the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort is expected to open this summer with 290 large studios and suites.

A new 23-story Four Seasons will open in 2018 with 150 hotel rooms and 95 residences, two restaurants, a spa, fitness centre and children’s recreation room.

Element by Westin Hotel (114 rooms) will offer retail options, a restaurant, rooftop bar, sky lobby and a seventh-floor infinity pool when it opens in the spring 2017.