The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau and its partners greeted Canadian travel professionals at an appreciation event in Toronto last night, thanking them for their continued support and providing a glimpse into the 2015 tourism season.
The dinner event, held at Casa Loma, brought representatives from several Miami destinations, accommodations and organizations, including Shula's Hotel & Golf Club; Viceroy Miami; The Biltmore Hotel; Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa; Charles Group Hotels; Dream South Beach; Homestead TAC/TEVA; The Hotel of South Beach; The James Royal Palm; Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach; and Z Ocean Hotel South Beach.
According to Linda Stilmann, Senior Director of Sales (U.S., Canada and Emerging Markets) and Cruise Industry Liaison with the Greater Miami CVB, the city continues to draw throngs of snowbirds each winter, flocking to Miami’s beaches by car or by plane. Stilmann noted that travel options for Canadians have recently expanded with new Miami flights by carriers such as Sunwing and WestJet, making it even easier to head south for the winter. With the recent seasonal opening of Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant marking the start of the Miami tourism season, Stilmann outlined the draws for travellers north of the border.
“Canada has long been our number one destination for tourists and many of them may not get counted, because they have places in Miami where they live,” said Stilmann. “It’s really like a second home for Canadians, being so close and having the beaches that everyone loves…. Being so close, there’s a lot of relationships between Canada and the U.S. They recognize that it’s just a great place to come and visit.”
A number of new projects in Miami are currently underway near the Miami World Centre. Those include The Mall at Miami World Centre, a new 765,000 square foot shopping and dining development; and the Marriott Hotel and Convention Centre, which will feature over 600,000 square feet of convention space and 2,000 luxury hotel rooms.
A new All Aboard Florida express train between Miami and Orlando (with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach) is expected to debut in 2016, said Stilmann, with on-board WiFi, dining car and bar for passengers making the three-hour journey between the two cities.
Also in 2015, Miami Beach will mark its 100th birthday in May, with several events and celebrations taking place throughout the destination, Stilmann said.
Miami by the numbers
- While Miami’s population is only 2.6 million, the city welcomes more than 14 million visitors annually, who book an estimated 12.5 million hotel rooms.
- Miami International Airport serves more than 39.5 million passengers annually, the second-leading international gateway to the U.S. behind New York’s JFK International Airport.
Front - Rosario Ramirez, Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa; Concha Perdomo, Charles Group Hotels; Joanne Scalamogna, Greater Miami CVB represented by Access Marketing in Toronto; Cathy Rodriguez, The Biltmore Hotel; Linda Stilmann, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau; Michelle Bell, Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach.
Middle - Lisa Gory, Shula's Hotel & Golf Club; Berit Naatz, The James Royal Palm; Nara Azevedo, The Hotel of South Beach; Danielle Torres, Homestead TAC/TEVA.
Back - Louis Escoto, Z Ocean Hotel South Beach; Fred Khoury, Viceroy Miami; James Anderson, Dream South Beach.