The nation’s COVID-battered hospitality industry is rebounding, with leisure travel revenues in the top 50 U.S. markets including Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville expected to top pre-COVID levels. pandemic of 2019, a national industry trade group said Monday. .
But that translates into consumers paying more. Throughout the year, industry officials noted that improving hotel revenues translated into higher prices for consumers as the industry struggled to recover from a devastating downturn in prices. trips that started in early 2020 and started to rebound last year.
“The hospitality industry continues its march toward recovery, but we still have a ways to go before we fully get there,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, based in Washington, DC, in a statement.
Peter Ricci, director of the hospitality and tourism management program at Florida Atlantic University, predicted in an interview Monday that 2023 will be another year of high prices for hotel guests as managements grapple with high labor and energy costs, changing travel habits and recession fears.
“The ability to reduce fares is limited beyond anyone’s control as they have to pay the bills,” he said.
Among the top 50 U.S. markets, 80% are expected to see leisure travel revenue surpass 2019, while only 40% are expected to reach that milestone for business travel revenue, the hotel association said in the release.
In Florida, Fort Lauderdale ranked 24th on the list, with projected leisure travel revenue expected to rise 35% to $1.146 billion and business travel revenue up 8 .9% to more than $721 million, according to the survey.
Elsewhere, Miami ranks No. 14 with leisure travel revenue forecast to hit $2.455 billion for a 33% increase and commercial revenue up 23.1% to $1.464 billion.
Orlando, with its popular Walt Disney World Resort and other theme park destinations, was fifth with a projection of just over $4 billion in leisure revenue, up 24.6% from to 2019. Business travel revenue is expected to grow 23.1% to $2.329 billion. .
Tampa and Jacksonville were ranked 35th and 45th respectively in the survey.
Nationally, leisure travel revenue among the top 50 destinations is expected to hit just under $100 billion at $97.8 billion, a 14% increase from 2019, the report said. ‘association. The business side will be down 1%.
New York, with its $5.4 billion leisure market and $3 billion in business travel revenue, tops the top 50 list despite expectations that it will lose ground against to pre-pandemic levels in both categories.
Visit Florida, the state’s tourism promotion agency, resumed advertising for visitors late last week after a 10-day hiatus triggered by Hurricane Ian, which severely damaged or destroyed a large range of hotels and tourist attractions in Southwest Florida. The campaign, which is slated to run through the end of October, is called “Sun’s Shining in Florida” and is designed to focus on areas of the state that were undamaged by Hurricane Ian.
Last Thursday, Visit Lauderdale, Broward County’s tourism promotion agency, unveiled a new campaign for the upcoming winter travel season titled “Everyone Under the Sun.”
Ricci believes the region will benefit from international travellers, a revival in event activity and a continued return of cruise passengers in 2023. But uncertainties raised by the upcoming midterm elections and talk of the recession have made it difficult for hoteliers to predict what type of year they will experience next year.
Last week, Ricci moderated a panel of South Florida hotel managers to assess the region’s “state of the union” for the hospitality industry.
“Everyone said it was definitely one of the hardest years to predict,” Ricci said. “None of them were sure going into budget season due to a myriad of variables.”
But there are bright lights on the horizon.
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Uncertainties beyond, Fort Lauderdale appears to be a top destination among Thanksgiving travelers this year, according to a survey also released Monday by Allianz Partners USA, which sells travel insurance.
The city ranked 10th among major US cities expected to see the most American travelers for the late November vacation.
“Fort Lauderdale has always been popular with our customers because it offers sunshine and fun in a family-friendly destination that is a relatively short plane ride for many Americans,” Daniel Durazo, director of external communications, said via email.
“While many of our customers opt for Caribbean beach vacations, there is still a significant segment that prefers to stay in the United States,” Durazo said. “Fort Lauderdale ticks the boxes for many with its great weather, many attractions, and some of the best beaches in the country. The airlines have done a great job of providing services to [Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport]which is within easy driving distance of many of the best hotels and resorts in the area.”
Allianz said it reviewed more than 2 million holiday travel itineraries to find the most popular domestic and international destinations for this year.
Return flights departing from US airports from Saturday November 19th to Thursday November 24th and returning from Friday November 25th to Tuesday November 29th have been taken into account.
Writer David Lyons can be contacted at [email protected]