Miami is hotter than ever. Check these lovely figures out—no, not the sultry figures tanning on the beach—the record-breaking travel and tourism figures the destination is reporting. Miami and the Beaches, according to information provided at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau’s 2015 Annual Meeting last Friday, saw a 5.4 percent increase in overnight visitors during the last 12 months, September 2014 to August 2015, and during that time the destination welcomed 15.1 million overnight visitors, up from the 14.2 million visitors over the same period for the previous year. Take note, agents: The average visitor to the destination is staying six nights, and, in the past 12 months, there was a 3 percent increase in rooms sold across the destination for an all-time record of 13.2 million room nights. And the destination is set to welcome an additional 2,300 hotel rooms in the next 12 months.
New Hotels and Air Service
One of the most buzzed about projects is the Downtown Miami-based Marriott Marquis Miami & Expo Center, which will bring 1,800 rooms to the city by fall of 2018. The hotel is part of the larger Miami World Center, which will include retail, restaurants, entertainment, residential and commercial offerings, as well as a 600,000-sq.-ft. expo center. There’s also the new Faena District, which will span several city blocks and will include the Faena Hotel Miami Beach, set to open next November. The new EAST-Miami Hotel, the first outside of Asia, will open in winter 2016 with some 260 rooms in the heart of the new Brickell City Center complex, which will also include three office buildings, two residential towers, and a shopping and dining center.
Just last week saw the inaugural flight from Istanbul to Miami aboard Turkish Airlines and Austrian Airlines is now flying nonstop to Miami from Vienna.
The BIG News
New hotels, new air service, new cruise ships—the Norwegian Escape is set to sail from the Port of Miami next month—are all well and good, but what the destination is most excited about is the new—or the re-imagining—of the Miami Beach Convention Center. When the new convention center makes its debut in 2018—the first convention will be the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)—it will be a LEED-certified facility with more than 500,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 60,000 sq. ft. mixed-use ballroom, and 81 new break-out rooms spanning 190,000 sq. ft. Adjacent to the convention center will be an 800-room Art Deco hotel (with 99 suites) with balconies for every guestroom and public amenities on the ground floor, so it connects organically to everything Miami Beach has to offer. Hotel amenities will include a fitness center, multiple pools, a spa, and a business center, as well as five F&B outlets, including a 120-seat rooftop concept. The hotel, which will have 95,210 sq. ft. of leasable meeting space, is expected to open March 2019.
In Other News…
• All Aboard Florida is a privately run passenger train that will connect Miami and Orlando, with intermediate stations in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The service between Miami and West Palm Beach will be operational by the end of 2016, and the extension to the Orlando International Airport will be operational by early 2017.
• Patricia & Phillip Frost Museum of Science is one of the most talked about projects among locals. Located at Miami’s new Museum Park, which is also home to the Perez Art Museum, it will feature real-life marvels, interactive exhibits, and learning adventures.
• Skyrise Miami in Downtown, a 1,000-ft. observation tower, is set to open in 2018. It will include an amusement-park style ride that drops people down its side, a 550-ft. bungee jump, a ballroom, a moving movie theater and nightclub.
For more information, visit miamiandbeaches.com.