Greater Fort Lauderdale CVBuzz, March 2016

Sojern’s 2015 Hotel Insights Report states that Fort Lauderdale is the #2 top-riser in the Hotel Search and Bookings Report for Q4.


January 2016

January 2015

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January 2016

January 2015

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Taste Fort Lauderdale

The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE (SOBEWFF®) celebrated its 15th anniversary with the inaugural Taste Fort Lauderdale Series last week. It was deemed a success from every angle, with sold out events, impressed chefs, satisfied guests and media/social media coverage, creating a culinary high in Greater Fort Lauderdale.

The Seaside Eats event at the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens with Chef Robert Irvine served as the official kick-off for the entire 15th SOBEWFF festival, with festival founder Lee Shrager and Carlos Molinet welcoming a sold-out 500+ crowd. Other Taste Fort Lauderdale events heated up at Casa D’Angelo Ristorante featuring Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar, S3 featuring Todd English, Valentino Cucina Italiana featuring Marc Vetri, Kuro featuring Justin Warner. Nicki Grossman greeted 500+ excited guests at The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale for the Bloody Mary Brunch, hosted by the cast of Chopped.


WGN Radio NY Sales Mission

Nicki Grossman, along with Convention Sales, Sports Development and Multicultural Business Development team members and six hotel partners, held a meeting planner/trade media reception in New York at Michael’s restaurant on Feb 24 to share the latest destination news and outline the Convention Center District Enhancement Project. Christine Roberts and Steve Aird led a three-day sales mission in New York with Bonaventure, Diplomat, B Ocean, Margaritaville, Westin Beach and Pelican Grand.

On Feb 25, Nicki, with Christine Roberts, Nora Gorman, Kim Butler, the Broward County Convention Center, and seven hotel/DMC partners conducted sales calls in Chicago, followed by two meeting planner/trade media events at the Ivy Room, with décor provided by partner Koncept Events and fantastic Floribbean themed cuisine for more than 100 key clients. The CVB partnered with WGN sports/talk radio in Chicago for a consumer promotion and radio interview.


Seatrade Cruise Global

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau will roll out the red carpet for Seatrade Cruise Global, welcoming the industry’s premier global event to its new host destination for the next three years.

Seatrade Cruise Global, an exhibition and conference bringing together all facets of the international cruise business, will be held at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center from March 14-17, 2016.  Formerly known as Cruise Shipping Miami, Seatrade Cruise Global carries a 30+ year legacy as the leading exhibition and conference to connect cruise industry exhibitors and attendees from around the world. For more information, visit

Fort Lauderdale was named in the Top 10 Best Mid- Sized Cities for Nightlife by Gogobot

Congratulations to the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade for being voted USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Award in the Holiday Festivals category.

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau is the proud recipient of the "New York Society of Association Executives Website Excellence Award," for’s immediacy of overview, ease of navigation, aesthetics, consistency, timeliness of content, internal search capabilities, originality and internet vision.

Sports Development welcomes more than 20,000 athletes, coaches, and families to Greater Fort Lauderdale in February, attending 30+ events including:
USA Hockey SE District Girls Championships at the Florida Panthers ICEDEN, Twisters Gymnastics Invitational at the Broward County Convention Center, YMCA Diving Nationals at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex, Miramar Soccer Cup and Showcase in Miramar, Legends of Cricket Tournament at Central Broward Regional Park, USTA Girls and Boys 12 Sectional Championships at the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center, and Dig the Beach Volleyball on Pompano Beach.


Routes Award  JetBlue Water Salute

In February, Fernando Harb attended ANATO in Bogota, Colombia. ANATO is the most important tourism event in Colombia, with travel agencies, wholesalers, tour operators, hotels, airlines, tourist offices, cruise ships, technology providers and others from 30 countries.

Erick Garnica attended Routes Americas airline conference in Puerto Rico with the Fort Lauderdale- Hollywood International Airport. It allows GFL the opportunity to increase airlift and visitation into our destination. Greater Fort Lauderdale won the prestigious destination marketing award for the second time in three years. Erick and Jessica Savage participated in the inaugural events and the flight to Quito, Ecuador with JetBlue, and hosted a media fam of top tier media from Ecuador.

Caitlan attended the National Tour Association Travel Exchange in Atlanta and met with domestic tour operators who are interested in bringing pre-cruise tours, bus groups that are touring Florida, etc.  Caitlan attended two CruiseOne networking and trade show events locally. Caitlan presented destination news to 60 South Florida agents at Travuristy Travel Agent Reception at the Embassy Suites 17th Street.

Justin Flippen attended the Convening Culture Conference at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts -- a conference that brings together individuals working in arts and culture in Florida, artists, and those interested in arts and culture together for two days of informative sessions, facilitated discussions and networking opportunities. 

The Hills Balfour team, CVB Tourism Sales and Jessica Savage/Media Relations, attended Florida Huddle, to network with international buyers and media. Plans for the upcoming sales missions in the UK and Scandinavia continues. The team will be exhibiting with the Florida Beaches coalition in March for the Danish Travel Show. The PR team has been busy making arrangements for the Hills Balfour 2016 regional roadshow which will visit six cities across the UK and Ireland, speaking to journalists about Greater Fort Lauderdale as a destination, news and developments. Greater Fort Lauderdale hosted a number of individual press trips with key publications including Sainsbury’s Magazine and Diver Magazine.

On March 9 -12, Black Enterprise Magazine will host their 11th Annual "Women of Power" Summit at the Diplomat Resort & Spa with more than 1,000 high-profile guests coming for sun, fun and networking. On March 17-20, the multicultural department will host its annual destination preview for top organizational leaders with a full itinerary that includes the Jazz in the Gardens music festival.

The City of Miramar hosts the Florida Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials conference on March 17-19, with more than 100 elected officials. Over the same dates, the Delta's will host their 2016 Cluster Conference at the Bonaventure Resort, with more than 1,100 attendees in RED, who will also attend the 11th Annual Jazz in the Gardens music festival.


Jazz in the 


South Florida music fans will enjoy Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival, March 19-20, at Sun Life Stadium, with a two-day lineup including Aretha Franklin, Usher, Kool and the Gang, Michael McDonald, Average White Band, Najee and more.


Richard Gray will attend ITB, March 7-12, and representing Greater Fort Lauderale in the “Pink Pavilion,” the most popular LGBT travel show (trade and consumer) event in the world. On March 18-20, Richard will be in New York City at the Hello Sunny event at the Time Warner Center.


Baywatch - 

courtesy of @ZacEfron

The shoreline of Deerfield Beach and the Hollywood Broadwalk star as film locations for scenes in the big-screen revival of the 1990s TV series "Baywatch" starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Zac Efron. Noelle Stevenson has been working with Rockfest to bring its first-ever music festival, showcasing popular rock bands from the 80’s on multiple stages, to Markham Park in Sunrise on April 2-3. Tickets available at

Film Permits were issued for the following productions in February, 2016: Feature Film: American Lions; Baywatch. TV Series: American Greed; Balancing Act; Doggy Doctor; HBO’s Ballers; I Am Jazz – Season 2; Jones Beach; Married at First Sight; My Life Is a Telenovela; The Real Housewives of New York; True Crime with Aphrodite Jones. TV Commercials: Holy Cross Hospital; Modelo Especiale; Party City; Smackaball; TD Bank. Still Photography: Bass Pro Shops; Canadian Tire; Challenger 601 Aircraft; Citation Aircraft at Sunset; Coleman Coolers; Driver Magazine; Elle Magazine; Falcon Aircraft; H&M; Jamba Juice; MQ Catalog; Otto Kids Fashion; Rogers Media; Speedo; Steve Madden; TOPSHOP; Venice Magazine; Wal*Mart. Telenovelas: La Trailera. Documentaries: Jani Gaat; Years of Living Dangerously – Season 2Industrial: Sleep Stick Interview.  Music Video: Poonam Khubani – Tu Hi Meri. PSA:  Caron Foundation; Strawberry. Web: Batanga Media; Jamba Super Bowl; Online Canadian Tire Catalogue; Toyota RAV4 Concepts. Other: Red Heart.    


Visit Florida Media Mission

Jessica Savage kicked off February with a post-Florida Huddle fam with Travel Mole UK. She participated in the Visit Florida media reception in New York and met with travel and lifestyle journalists, including Ed Salvato from Man About World, who traveled back to GFL with Jessica and Richard Gray to tour the destination’s new hotels and attractions.

Last week, Jessica Savage and Erick Garnica hosted five top lifestyle publications and daily newspapers from Ecuador during the JetBlue inaugural flights from Quito. And this week, they welcome Turismo Total Mexico travel channel, who is filming a general destination piece.


Mark your calendars for March 24 at 8:30am at the Broward County Convention Center to learn about summer programs, including Summer 2-for-1, the return of Spa Chic and other summer initiatives. RSVP to


Groups meeting in March will generate more than $21 million to Broward County. Groups include:  

Mar 2-5: CFSA 2016 Annual Meeting (600 attendees)
Mar 5-12: ITEX 2016 (2500 attendees)
Mar 5-13: 2016 - BE Women of Power (700 attendees)
Mar 10-16: 2016 Seatrade Cruise Global (11,000 attendess)
Mar 11-17: Citigroup 2016 ICG CIRA Global Property (700 attendees)
Mar 14-19: 2016 ASI Innovations Conference (200 attendees)
Mar 14-17: Mike Ferry Action Workshop Fort Lauderdale (400 attendees)
Mar 21-23: Financial Advisory Magazine/JV Events Financial Conference (200 attendees)
Mar 19-25: 33rd International Battery Seminar (600 attendees)
Mar 24-27: Gold Coast BBYO Spring Convention (250 attendees)


US News & World Report has released its list of Best Hotels in Fort Lauderdale. Congratulations to the Top Five: (1) The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale, (2) Pelican Grand Beach Resort, (3) W Fort Lauderdale, (4) The Atlantic Hotel & Spa, (5) Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. Click to read the article in full ( ort_Lauderdale_FL/)

To build excitement for the opening of the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, the hotel has treated beachgoers to a spectacular light show, “Light Up the Ocean,” that is displayed on the side of the hotel’s exterior. The light show runs hourly from 7pm-9pm through March 31.

Congratulations to Ed Lugo Resort in Wilton Manors for being named in the Top 25 of Small Hotels in the 2016 TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards

The Broward County Convention Center welcomes Jim Bennett as its new F&B Director. Previously, Jim had been the President of National Food Service (NFS), which managed all food and beverage operations for BCCC prior to being purchased by Boston Culinary.

Broward’s newest live music venue, Trio Live, is now open at 2871 E. Commercial Blvd in Fort Lauderdale, and features live music, sports bar, bistro and live jams every Weds night.

After a complete rebuild, the former Dania Beach Casino & Jai Alai has reopened as The Casino @ Dania Beach.  The venue includes an intimate 750 seat performance venue, Stage 954, for nationally known recording artists and comedians, 900 Las Vegas-style slot machines, a 24-table card room, a simulcast lounge and sports bar, multiple dining options and live Jai-Alai.

Total passenger traffic for January 2016 was 22, 572,187, up 8.4% over January 2015. Domestic traffic increased by 7.6% and international traffic was up 11.4%. Air carrier operations were 22,794, up 6.0% over last year. General Aviation was 3,416, down 2.7% from last year. Total aircraft operations were 26,210, up 4.8% over January 2015.  

FLL and Greater Fort Lauderdale welcomed the inaugural flight of JetBlue’s new nonstop service from Quito, Ecuador. 

New service on the horizon includes: Norwegian Air from Paris (July 2016); JetBlue from Barbados (April 2016), Aguadilla, Puerto Rico (May 2016), Nashville (May 2016), San Diego (June 2016); Spirit from Philadelphia (April 2016) and Southwest from Nassau in August 2016, marking its much anticipated entry into the international market.

The House Finance & Tax Committee has language in its tax package (HB7099) that allows coastal counties to utilize up to 10% of Tourist Development Tax dollars to be diverted to law enforcement, emergency medical and other public safety services. The FRLA supports preserving the Tourist Development Tax for its intended purpose and opposes language in the tax package that would expand its use. Let your Senators and Representatives know how important it is to preserve Tourist Development Taxes for its intended purpose: Marketing, Advertising and Promotion. Go to the FRLA website to find sample letters and more information.

Check out our team in action at various events and functions around the world. Click here to see. Events:
Does your hotel, restaurant, attraction or organization have a visitor-friendly or tourist-oriented event you’d like to see up on  If so, event submission is just a click away!  Simply visit to input the details of your event, including location, dates, times, admission cost (if any), website, and event description.  Be sure to select the applicable category for your event and also include and upload a high resolution picture for your event or a photo of the venue at which your event is taking place.  Your event submission will then be reviewed, and once approved it will be immediately placed up on our online events calendar for all to see. Questions? Contact Justin

Weekends thru Mar 20: Florida Renaissance Festival, Quiet Waters Park
Mar 1: An Evening with Vince Gill and Lyle Lovett – Songs and Stories, Coral Springs Center for the Arts
Mar 1-13: Kinky Boots, Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Mar 1: Saturday Night Fever-The Musical, Lauderhill Performing Arts Center
Mar 1: Walter Ponce & Gary Levinson, Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Mar 2-6 Men are from Mars Women are from Venus, Live, Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Mar 3: The Moody Blues, Hard Rock Live
Mar 3-6: Cirque du Soleil’s Toruk – The First Flight, BB& T Center
Mar 3-6: Dania Beach Marine Flea Market – Mardi Gras Casino
Mar 5: Smash Mouth, Stage 954 at The Casino @ Dania Beach
Mar 5: The Fab Faux, Parker Playhouse
Mar 6: Steve Miller Band, Hard Rock Live
Mar 7: Boston Bruins vs Florida Panthers, BB&T Center
Mar 10: Jewel with special guest JD & The Straight Shot, Parker Playhouse
Mar 10: Ottawa Senators vs Florida Panthers, BB&T Center
Mar 11: Foreigner, Stage 954 at The Casino @ Dania Beach
Mar 11: The Charlie Daniels Band, Pompano Beach Amphitheater
Mar 11: AC/DC’s Rock or Bust World Tour, BB&T Center
Mar 12: Fort Lauderdale Irish Festival & Parade
Mar 12: Adam Lambert, Hard Rock Live
Mar 12: Philadelphia Flyers vs Florida Panthers, BB&T Center
Mar 12: Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida: Coppelia, Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Mar 12: Bobby Collins, Coral Springs Center for the Arts
Mar 13: St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival, Hollywood
Mar 15: Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Parker Playhouse
Mar 15: Tony Bennett, The Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Mar 16: George Thorogood and the Destroyers
Mar 18-20: Jazz in the Gardens, Sun Life Stadium
Mar 18: Judy Collins, Coral Springs Center for the Arts
Mar 19: Spring Marshmallow Drop, Hollywood Beach
Mar 19: Mess O’Blues, Pompano Beach Amphitheater
Mar 19: Detroit Red Wings vs Florida Panthers, BB&T Center
Mar 19: Deepak Chopra, Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Mar 19: KC & The Sunshine Band, Hard Rock Live
Mar 19-20: Coral Springs Festival of the Arts
Mar 22: Vanessa Williams, Broadway Concert Series, Parker Playhouse
Mar 23-27: Disney on Ice Presents Frozen, BB&T Center
Mar 24: Chris Tucker, Hard Rock Live
Mar 26 Don Rickles, Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Mar 29: Toronto Maple Leafs vs Florida Panthers, BB&T Center
Mar 26: The Three Tenors (Who Can’t Sing), Parker Playhouse
Mar 30: Robin Trower with Special Guest Damon Fowler, Parker Playhouse
Mar 31: New Jersey Devils vs Florida Panthers, BB&T Center
Mar 31: Kathy Griffin, Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Best wishes,

Nicki E. Grossman, President