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International visitors send Miami travel industry soaring

Miami-Dade County welcomed more than 26.5 million visitors last year, generating over $20.8 billion, an increase of 8% in tourism revenue over 2021.

The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau stated in its 2022 Visitors Industry Overview report that a total of 26.5 million visitors came to the county last year, with 19.2 million coming for overnight stays and 7.3 million for day-time visits.

Overnight visitation increased 20% from 2021, and day-time visits dropped 12%, leveling to 2019 figures, according to the report. In addition, about 300,000 more visitors came from Florida last year, from places like Orlando, Tampa/St. Petersburg, and Palm Beach.

More than 17.1 million hotel room nights were sold in 2022, up 12.7% over 2021, even when hotel daily rates increased about 14% over the 12 months. Gross hotel revenue also increased by 29% with record-high hotel room rates.

Similarly, hotel occupancy rose 8% year-over-year in 2022 at 72.1% by the end of the year, despite the addition of new hotel room inventory, the report said. Miami-Dade has the fifth-highest occupancy rate in the nation, behind Hawaii, New York, Orlando and San Diego.

The average daily rate rose 14% to $253.11. “The largest gains in hotel revenues were among the mid- to upper-scale hotels,” the report said.
The international overnight visitor market rebounded 2.7% in 2022, after most travel restrictions were lifted by the end of 2021.

International visitors accounted for 25% of the overall overnight market, with 4.7 million visitors, and contributing to 29% of the tourism expenditures. Colombia was the leading international market for the second consecutive year, with 432,000 visitors, according to the bureau.

Overnight visitors to Greater Miami and Miami Beach accounted for 10.4 million domestic visitors, 4.7 million international visitors, and 4.1 million visitors from Florida. Of the “day trippers” 2.4 million were domestic travelers, 1.1 million were international, and 3.8 million were Florida residents, the report said.

Of the domestic overnight visitors, most came from the Northeast and the Midwest in 2022, with New York the top state from which visitors came, according to the report. In 2021, most US visitors came from the southern states.

Most international visitors last year came from South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, with Colombia at the top spot, followed by Brazil, Canada, and Mexico.

“Canadians were returning in numbers equal to pre-pandemic levels,” the report said. “Brazilians, despite many travel-related barriers, rose to the No. 2 ranking of top international overnight visitor markets. Both the United Kingdom and Spain, which were largely absent in 2021, returned in force and resulted in ranking No. 5 and No. 6 top international overnight markets, respectively.”

Vacation and pleasure travel were selected as the reasons most visitors – 73% of them – traveled to the destination in 2022, according to a bureau survey, as 18% of visitors traveled to Greater Miami to visit friends, 16% to visit relatives, 15% for business, 10% for cruises, and only 2% for meetings and conventions.

Miami Beach, downtown Miami and Brickell, and North Dade were the top accommodation destinations that visitors chose while visiting, the report said. The most visited neighborhoods were Miami Beach, comprising half of the tourism, downtown Miami and Brickell, and South Dade, Aventura and Wynwood.

Lincoln Road, the Miami Seaquarium and Wynwood Walls were the top attractions visited in 2022, aside from the beaches, which, according to the report, 49% of the visitors went to. Other places of interest for Florida resident overnight visitors included Bayside Marketplace, the Art Deco District and CocoWalk in 2022.

“Tourism fuels job growth and economic vitality, resulting in quality-of-life benefits as a result of visitor taxes that support everything from arts and culture to healthcare and transportation,” said David Whitaker, bureau president and CEO, in a statement.

In 2022, domestic travelers spent $11.4 billion, 16% more than in 2021; international travelers spent $6.1 billion, 7% less than in 2021; and Florida residents spent $3.4 billion, 14% more than the previous year.

“The return of the international visitor has been key to our destination’s success,” said Bruce Orosz, bureau board chair, in a press release.

“With the reactivated [bureau] international office network, spanning 50 cities in 53 countries, we’ve galvanized key resources to promote international travel to Greater Miami and Miami Beach.”


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