Last updated: 11:08 AM ET, Mon March 14 2016

A Flourishing Greater Fort Lauderdale

Part of the destinations success is its growing appeal to affluent travelers.

Agent@Home | Destination & Tourism | Claudette Covey

A Flourishing Greater Fort Lauderdale

PHOTO: Fort Lauderdale shines at night. (courtesy Fort Lauderdale CVB)

Greater Fort Lauderdale’s success story continues unabated, with tourism numbers continuing to climb year-over-year. “The county has experienced 70 consecutive months of continued growth and holds a year-to-date hotel occupancy rate of 81.1 percent, well ahead of the Florida average of 74.9 percent and nationwide average of 67.2 percent,” says Nicki E. Grossman, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB).

The CVB, however, is not resting on its laurels when it comes to boosting tourism numbers and enhancing and expanding its tourism infrastructure. “While we’re proud of the 70 months of consecutive growth in hotel occupancy rate, I look forward to surpassing that benchmark and gaining speed on new milestones, like welcoming 16 million visitors to the destination this year,” says Grossman.

Although Greater Fort Lauderdale features hotel options for all types of travelers, its evolution as an upscale travel destination has contributed greatly to its success. “Recent studies show that we are attracting affluent visitors who stay longer and spend more while they are here – in fact, we are leading the state in affluent visitation,” says Grossman.

READ MORE FROM TRAVELPULSE: Reinventing Fort Lauderdale

Specifically, a study commissioned by the CVB revealed that the average annual household income of these affluent visitors reached $112,563 – almost 25 percent higher than that of domestic travelers to other American destinations. “This is a significant 15.5 percent increase from the destination’s [affluent traveler] average of $97,517 in 2012, elevating Greater Fort Lauderdale to one of the top leisure destinations in the U.S. and well above the national average of $90,591” she says.

Some notable upscale hotel developments include the $40 million Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, scheduled to open this winter; and the $200 million Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences, which will debut in 2018. The $180 million Meliá Costa Hollywood is set to open later this year; the $240 million Hyde Resort & Residences will open in phases from 2016 to 2018; and the Gale Boutique Hotel & Residences Fort Lauderdale Beach will open its doors in 2017.

In September, the much anticipated $147 million Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort made its debut. “The destination has also seen the $150 million Beachwalk Resort development open in Hallandale Beach in 2015,” says Grossman. “New mega ‘work, live, play and stay’ projects are also planned for Broward, including Dania Pointe in Dania Beach, which will have residential, retail, restaurant, hotel and entertainment offerings.”

In addition to 23 miles of pristine beaches, Greater Fort Lauderdale offers affluent travelers a wide selection of dining, shopping and other activities in such venues as the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The crowning jewel of the 22-block district is Las Olas Boulevard, an epicenter for fashion, dining and nightlife. In airport and cruise port developments, Broward County invested $2.3 billion in an expansion and runway extension at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, and new facilities at Port Everglades.

Greater Fort Lauderdale is also vigorously targeting the meetings, incentives and conventions market. “Outside of vacation travel, we are experiencing tremendous popularity with the meetings, conventions and incentive market,” says Grossman. “Hosting the Seatrade Cruise Global [conference] at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center for the next three years will shine a spotlight on the destination for the cruise industry – which continues to make a major contribution with pre/post cruise visits, room nights and awareness of visitor friendly assets.”

To accommodate this growing market, Grossman says plans are underway for the development of the $600 million Broward County Convention Center Hotel and an expansion of the convention center, scheduled for completion by 2020. Going forward, Grossman believes Greater Fort Lauderdale is poised for even greater growth. “The vast financial investment in the destination’s economic development and growth – more than $1 billion – only further depicts how successful Greater Fort Lauderdale has been and will continue to be,” she says.

For more information on Fort Lauderdale

For more Destination & Tourism News


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

Agent@Home Magazine

A version of this article appears in print in the February 2016 issue of Agent@Home Magazine.