Last updated: 08:00 PM ET, Thu October 29 2015

Miami Breaks Tourism Records, Plans for More Growth

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | October 29, 2015

Miami Breaks Tourism Records, Plans for More Growth

PHOTO: Miami's skyline is transforming with new development. (TravelPulse File Photo)

Miami is having a record-breaking year. Its travel and tourism numbers have grown with a 5.4 percent increase in overnight visitors to the greater Miami area. From September 2014 to August 2015, the destination welcomed 15.1 million overnight visitors – up from 14.2 million the previous year and bringing in 7 percent more revenue to the city. Airport arrivals are also on the rise, up 5.5 percent and visitors are staying longer, up to six nights on average, because of the increase in the number of attractions with the city. The past 12 months show a 3 percent increase in rooms sold with a record 13.2 million room nights. 

“We are breaking record upon record across industry indicators and are only beginning to realize the full potential and incremental economic impact once the new Miami Beach Convention Center opens its doors,” said President and CEO William D. Talbert, III. 

Miami is truly undergoing a renaissance with its planned revitalization of the Miami Beach Convention Center. The plans call for a state-of-the-art LEED certified facility with more than 500,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 60,000-square-foot mixed-use ballroom and 81 new breakout rooms spanning 190,000 square feet.

The redevelopment of its meetings and convention industry is bolstered by a number of other projects, including new hotels and increased airlift.

“Miami is officially a luxury destination attracting global premium brands in airline, retail and hotel categories,” said GMCVB chairman Bruce Orosz. “With more than $5 billion in new development and investment projects coming to Miami and the Beaches in the next three years, it’s no surprise that the destination is a preferred location for the production industry as well as global entertainment and sporting events.”

Hotel Boom

In the next 12 months, Miami will welcome an additional 2,300 hotel rooms, and global hotel brands are launching flagship projects in the city. One example is the downtown-based Marriott Marquis Miami & Expo Center. The project will add 1,800 rooms by the fall of 2018 and it will be the largest hotel in the South Florida area.

The new Faena District is a billion-dollar project spanning several city blocks to include the Faena Hotel Miami Beach, set to open its doors in November 2015. 

The new EAST- Miami Hotel – the first outside of Asia – is scheduled to open in the winter of 2016 and will add approximately 260 rooms in the heart of the new Brickell City Center complex. 

Added Airlift

Miami is already known as the nation’s gateway to South and Central America, but the city will continue to see growth in new direct service from major global carriers. Nonstop service just began from Miami to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. And over the past 12 months, Miami welcomed new nonstop service from Vienna with Austrian Airlines and nonstop service from Manchester with Thomas Cook Airways. Additionally, Qatar Airways launched its Doha-Miami route, which is the first nonstop service from the Middle East to Florida.

New Development and Investment Projects

Air service and new hotel construction aren’t the only things adding to Miami’s renaissance. A number of other new development and investment projects are lined up.

All Aboard Florida is a $2.5 billion, privately run passenger train that will connect Miami and Orlando. Service is scheduled to begin in 2017.

American Dream Miami is a new retail complex that has been proposed in Northwest Miami-Dade. The facility, backed by the company behind Mall of America in Minnesota, will be the largest mall in North America.

Brickell City Centre is a $1.05 billion project that includes three office buildings, two residential towers, shopping and a dining center as well as the new EAST Miami Hotel in Downtown Miami.

Faena District Miami Beach is another comprehensive real-estate project created by Argentine developer Alan Faena that will span three blocks along Collins Avenue. Highlights include Faena Saxony Hotel, Faena House (a 24-story building with 47 oceanview luxury residences), Faena Forum (center for dance, theater, political debates, lectures and cultural happenings), Faena Arts Center, Faena Bazaar and Artists-in-Residence Center, Faena Park, a Marina and gardens

Miami World Center in Downtown Miami is one of the largest private master-planned projects in the U.S. at $2 billion, and it will include retail, restaurants, entertainment, residential and commercial offerings as well as the aforementioned 1,800-room Marriott Hotel with a 600,000 square-foot expo center.

Patricia & Phillip Frost Museum of Science will complete Miami’s new Museum Park, home to the Perez Art Museum and Miami Science Museum. The new scientific, educational and career resource center will feature real-life marvels, interactive exhibits and learning adventures in a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient building. 

Skyrise Miami in downtown is a 1,000-foot-high observation tower set to open in 2018. The building will include an amusement park-style ride that drops people down its side, a 550-foot bungee jump, a ballroom, a movie theater and a nightclub. 

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