Tuesday,  July 27, 2021  4:32 am

Finding “Miamiland” – the outdoorsy side to Miami your clients may not know

Finding “Miamiland” – the outdoorsy side to Miami your clients may not know
Everglades National Park. (Photo courtesy of the GMCVB/MiamiandBeaches.com)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and DailyXtra.ca. Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

When you think about Miami, you may think about sunshine, sand and parties in South Beach that go until sunrise. 

These are wonderful things that make up this special coastal region in southeastern Florida, Debra Lee, director of travel industry sales at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), told travel pros at a virtual networking event earlier this month.

But there’s “another side” to Miami that some visitors may not be as familiar with, she said, and that is the fact that Miami is surrounded by two national parks.

There’s Biscayne National Park, which preserves Biscayne Bay and its offshore barrier reefs and is a popular spot for boating, kayaking and stand-up paddling.

And there’s Everglades National Park, a 1.5-million-acre, grassy wetlands preserve full of mangroves, sawgrass marshes and incredible wildlife, such as alligators, turtles and peacocks.

“You’re really escaping to another world that you probably would not have connected Miami with,” Lee told attendees at the June 9 event.

This where “Miamiland” comes in, a campaign the GMCVB launched in 2020 to highlight Greater Miami’s untamed mangrove forests, ocean adventures, swamps, lush gardens and farm-to-table cuisine – beyond the city’s nightlife and buzzing hotel strips.

Aerial view of South Beach. (Photo courtesy of the GMCVB/MiamiandBeaches.com)

This is also a side to Miami that Canadian travel advisors should consider sharing with their clients, said Tania Kedikian, a GMCVB account manager.

“Canadians are looking for outdoor adventure,” she said, “And Miami offers that through Miamiland.”

For more on Miamiland, click here

Canadians want the beach

Kedikian, a destination marketing expert with Development Counsellors International (DCI), had the latest research on hand to back up her claim.

DCI has spent the COVID-19 pandemic researching Canadian consumers, gathering data on consumer attitudes towards future trips.

Kedikian, in fact, was a featured speaker at the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies’ (ACTA) 2020 Leadership Summit last November, where she shared several statistics about what Canadians want in their post-pandemic travels. 

One statistic that stands out, in relation to Miami, is that 73% of Canadians are looking for beach destinations, hinting at a desire to get outdoors.

“Canadians love Florida, so Miami is part of that. Having access to [a beach] is a top priority,” Kedikian told attendees. 

3 types of Miami travellers 

DCI, in its research, has identified three types of travellers that fit the Miami profile: 

  1. The Young Experience Seeker: these types are 30 and under and will be the first ones to travel “within the next three months,’ Kedikian said. They’re looking excitement, robust arts and culture, with 81 per cent craving outdoor adventure.
  2. The Affluent Wanderer: this group earns more than $200,000 annually. They take longer, international leisure trips. They’re a good fit for Miami because this group wants beach vacations and culinary experiences (two of Miami’s strengths). This demo, notably, will most likely use a travel advisor, Kedikian said. 
  3. The Sun-Seeking Baby Boomer (Snowbirds): this market has prioritized travel and has the spending power when it comes to air fare and accommodations, Kedikian said, noting that 99 per cent of this demo want a safe and secure destination. 

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel”

Miami’s event, conveniently, unfolded on the same day the Trudeau government announced its plan to discontinue its hotel quarantine program and, pending a negative COVID-19 test, its 14-day self-isolation order for fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning from abroad. 

Calling hotel quarantine the biggest “hurdle” for travellers, Kedikian welcomed the news as a positive sign that international travel will soon return for Canadians. 

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

Downtown Miami. (Photo courtesy of the GMCVB/MiamiandBeaches.com)

Supporting the event were supplier partners, including the Clevelander South Beach Hotel, Solé Miami, Sunny Isles Beach Tourism and Marketing Council, Marriott International and the Town of Surfside.

Entrepreneur Charles Kropke, CEO of Dragonfly Expeditions, a 30-year-old tour company that offers “uncommon adventures” into the beauty, culture, history and ecology of South Florida and the Caribbean, also spoke. 

Travel advisors are encouraged to visit www.miamiandbeaches.com for the latest Miami updates, as well as health and safety protocols.

There’s also a dedicated travel professionals page where the GMCVB’s “Miami Moments” webinars are posted, as well as a four-chapter Greater Miami Beach specialist program via Travel Agent Academy. 

A new Sunny Isles Beach Specialist Program is also available to agents.

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