GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (May 8, 2014) - The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau today thanked the record-breaking 13.4 million tourists that injected $10.6 billion into the local economy in the past year. The record-year of tourism for the destination comes after more than two-decades of visitor growth that has transformed Greater Fort Lauderdale from a regional beach attraction into a leader in South Florida economic development; without losing its beach chic charm.
"Tourism is the lifeblood of this community and today we celebrate its role as a job creator, revenue generator and smile-maker for those who benefit from the tourism dollar - which, by the way, is every resident in Broward."
Each of the visitors in 2013 have made a direct economic impact to the continued evolution of Greater Fort Lauderdale including job creation, new tourism-related development and investment, as well as elevating the destination's brand and appeal.
The top reasons Greater Fort Lauderdale is celebrating National Tourism Day include:
- Economic Impact: Greater Fort Lauderdale's visitors in 2013 spent an average $29,233,000 per day, $1,218,000 per hour, or $20,300 per minute. Thanks to increased tourism, the county's tourism industry achieved a record 51 consecutive months of growth in hotel occupancy rates.
- Hospitality Industry Jobs: For every 85 visitors, one local job is supported. The 13.4 million tourists to Broward County in 2013 support more than 157,000 local hospitality-related jobs.
- International Status: International visitation is growing, with most coming from Canada, 35.6 percent; Latin America, 27.5 percent; Europe, 13.2 percent; Scandinavia, 8.1 percent; and the United Kingdom, 6.5 percent. New international flights are serving the destination's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport regularly, with JetBlue adding service from Bogota, Medellin, Lima, Port Au Prince, Trinidad & Tobago, Punta Cana, and Montego Bay. Norwegian Air Shuttle began service from Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and soon to launch London, Gatwick. Copa Airlines is opening up Latin America with new service from Panama. The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB just opened its first sales office in São Paulo, Brazil.
- Investment and Development: The state-of-the-art Port Everglades, one of the top three cruise ports in the world, will continue to drive cruise passenger visits with $54 million spent to improve four major cruise terminals. The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport meanwhile, is investing in a $2 billion terminal renovation and runway expansion program. New hotel developments include the $147 million Margaritaville Resort, the $180 million Costa Hollywood, and first-ever Conrad Fort Lauderdale Resort and Residences.
- World-Class Arts and Endless Entertainment: Names like Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Cher, Beyoncé and Jay Z, were once the sole entertainment currency of big cities like New York and Los Angeles. But these and more world-class acts can be seen in Greater Fort Lauderdale at venues like the BB&T Center and Hard Rock Live, and at major music festivals like Jazz in the Gardens, Tortuga Music Festival and Lauderdale Live.
- Gay Capital of the U.S: Greater Fort Lauderdale has become an undisputed leader with lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender residents and tourists. Ranked as the country's 7th most popular LGBT travel destination, it is also home to the most same-sex couples in the country. The destination welcomed a record-breaking 1.3 million LGBT visitors in 2013 spending $1.48 billion.
- Multicultural Success: Under the direction of the CVB's Multicultural Department, Greater Fort Lauderdale has become well-known for its appeal to the African-American Community, attracting major events such as the National Urban League's prestigious annual Conference for 2015. In the coming year, the CVB's team will expand partnerships with the American Tennis Association (ATA) and the United States Tennis Association (USTA), while also working to secure a permanent home for the American Tennis Association and the Black Tennis Hall of Fame.
- Lights, Camera, Action: Greater Fort Lauderdale has become home to some of the film industry's biggest productions, with The Broward Office of Film and Entertainment reporting 819 film permits issued for the 12 months from April, 2013 injecting more than $215 million into the economy, creating more 25,256 jobs and generating 137,176 overnight stays in the destination.
For information, visit www.sunny.org