Record visitors, tourist expenditures for Fort Lauderdale in 1999

FORT LAUDERDALE -- In 1999, Greater Fort Lauderdale, for the ninth year in a row, reported a record number of visitors.

More than 6.74 million people visited the area in 1999, an increase of 4.9% compared with 1998.

Also last year, the number of passengers using Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport increased by 12%. In fact, the New York-Fort Lauderdale route was the third most heavily traveled in the country last winter. During 1999, more than 2 million people flew between the two cities.

The area's visitors, for the sixth consecutive year, set a record for spending on transportation, hotels, restaurants, attractions and recreation.

Expenditures by tourists in Greater Fort Lauderdale in 1999 topped $3.85 billion, an increase of 6.9%, generating tourism tax collections of more than $15 million (up by 7.8% vs. 1998).

Average daily room rates increased by 2.6% to a record $84.53. Even with the addition of 996 new hotel rooms since 1998, hotel occupancy increased by 2.25 percentage points to an average annual level of 69.7%, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau bureau officials noted.

"Not only are we thrilled with the record-breaking numbers for 1999, but the upward trend is continuing into 2000 with new air service, and Broward County's bed tax collections are up more than 10% for the first quarter [of 2000]," said Nicki Grossman, bureau president.

In March of this year, according to Smith Travel Research in Hendersonville, N.C., hotel occupancy averaged 82.5% vs. 81.9% in 1999. The average daily room rates, respectively, were $105.35 and $101.94.

February's 88.2% hotel occupancy almost broke even with the month's record in 1999 (88.3%) when Super Bowl fans bolstered early February statistics.

The increases stem from the the city's efforts, begun 15 years ago, to shed its spring break destination image, bureau officials said.

The city succeeded in transforming itself into a cosmopolitan, multifaceted year-round destination with family recreation options, top-quality diving, boating, fishing and golf, they added.

The area's popularity, Grossman said, also can be attributed to its 23 miles of beaches that earn top ratings from beach quality authorities.

Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau
Phone: (800) 22-SUNNY
Web: www.sunny.org

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