The Sunshine Economy Part Four: Tourism

May 27, 2013

Host Tom Hudson
Credit WLRN

Tourism has been the fuel for South Florida's economy since Henry Flagler stretched his railroad to Palm Beach in the 1890s. It remains a significant and long-term driver of the local economy to this day.

Our program starts where Henry Flagler ignited the industry, at The Breakers in Palm Beach. The Breakers CEO Paul Leone tells us his resort has never been busier, even as it gears up for the "slow season" (which isn't slow.)

Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International and CEO of Seminole Gaming, talks about the role Indian gaming plays in attracting visitors to the region, the competition for the gaming dollar and possible industry competition within Florida.

Definitely a tourist -- locals never rent fancy beach lounges.
Credit Tom Hudson

Who is a tourist? Turns out, the definition depends somewhat on the business. We talk with two small businesses (a Miami Beach dry cleaner and a South Miami men’s clothing store) about whom they consider their tourist customers.

Hannah Sampson of the Miami Herald will discuss the cruise industry, which continues growing despite recent safety concerns. And Miami Herald business editor and long time travel writer Jane Wooldridge will explore how millions of visitors impact our way of life in paradise.

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