By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) announced a record-breaking 16.5 million overnight visitors in 2018 this week, up +3.5 percent compared to 2017, along with 6.8 million Day Trippers for a total visitor number of 23.3 million.
According to the organization, a record-breaking visitor volume led to an economic impact of nearly $18 billion, fueled mostly by international visitors who contributed an estimated +54 percent of the total economic impact.
In 2018, the travel and hospitality sector employed a record 142,100 people while Greater Miami’s hotel market ranked in the top 10 among the top 25 hotel markets in the U.S. according to STR.
“Our neighborhood marketing strategy encourages visitors to stay longer in Greater Miami, further spreading the wealth of tourism,” said Bruce Orosz, GMCVB Board Chair.
“Whether it’s a Day Tripper who comes into the destination to experience a neighborhood for a few hours, or an international visitor staying for several days – Greater Miami’s authenticity is a strong tourism driver and attracts visitors from all over the world.”
Greater Miami and the Beaches broke another record by selling a record 15.6 million hotel room nights in 2018, representing an increase of +1.5 percent compared to 2017. This speaks to the strong demand for the destination.
The International overnight visitor market experienced the highest rate of growth, +4.1 percent in 2018 compared to 2017 and contributed to the record-breaking overnight visitors. International visitors comprised 35 percent of the overnight market, with 5.8 million visitors, and contributed about 54 percent of the total visitor expenditure because of longer stays in the destination.
Latin America remained a key feeder market in 2018, generating the top three countries of origin for overnight international visitors into Greater Miami: Brazil, Colombia and Argentina. Combined, these three countries delivered more than twenty percent of the international overnight visitors. Similarly, Latin America as a region represented 45 percent of the total overnight visitor.
Domestic overnight visitors (not including Florida Residents) in 2018 represented 38 percent of the total overnight visitor market, with 6.2 million traveling to the Greater Miami area and representing 34 percent of visitor expenditures.
New York City remained the largest domestic overnight market, contributing more than 1.2 million visitors or twenty percent of the total domestic overnight market.