tourism

CHARLIE ORTEGA GUIFARRO / MIAMI HERALD

Miami-Dade County is considering loosening restrictions on short-term rental companies even as hundreds of home hotels operate within its limits illegally.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The local legend in Key West is that a few businessmen started Fantasy Fest in 1979 because they wanted to drum up some business at the end of the off-season.

That's true, says Tony Falcone, who was one of those founding fathers for what has turned into the biggest annual event in the Keys. But it's not the only reason.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Online home renting sites like Airbnb have greatly expanded the vacation rental market — when travelers rent a home or apartment instead of a hotel room.

Two new studies illustrate the impact that's having on the Florida Keys.

Morgan Lane / Unsplash

If you use travel booking websites, beware.

New research from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) reveals that customers are cheated out of almost $6 billion annually by online booking scams from fraudulent or misleading travel websites.

Updated Oct. 9 at 3:50 p.m. with statement from Expedia Group

 

According to the AHLA, nearly one out of four customers faces some sort of problem when booking a hotel reservation through a source outside of the hotel's direct booking system. 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Initial reporting can leave lasting impressions after a hurricane — and that can be really damaging to a tourism destination.

Jacqueline Charles / Miami Herald

AP / AP PHOTO

Hurricane Dorian, the strongest recorded hurricane to ever hit the Bahamas, has left tens of thousands of people on the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco without food, roofs, transportation and communication. But many of the other islands in the archipelago were spared and remain welcome to tourists.

Joy Jibrilu, the director General of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, says people can help with Dorian relief efforts by continuing to vacation in those parts of the Bahamas.

Emily Michot / MIAMI HERALD

A cloudless sky greeted Shannon Waddell and friends in Miami Beach for their weekend getaway from Atlanta, and the day might have qualified as postcard perfect if not for the rotting blanket of sea grass blocking their barefoot path to the ocean.

“It’s so pretty and blue out there,” Waddell, 21, said from her perch on a day bed on the beach outside the Edition Hotel off 26th Street. “And ugly and brown right here. ... It’s kind of gross.”

The latest victim in the recent string of American tourist deaths in the Dominican Republic was identified by family as Vittorio Caruso of Glen Cove, N.Y.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The recent U.S. ban on cruise ships traveling to Cuba has had a ripple effect on South Florida's cruise industry. Yet not all of it is bad news.

In fact, it's bringing more attention to the southernmost port of call for these big ships in the continental U.S.

Updated at 10:10 p.m. ET

The FBI is now helping local authorities in the Dominican Republic examine the mysterious deaths of three Americans who were staying at resorts in the island country in recent weeks, an FBI official has confirmed to NPR.

Since news of the deaths has spread, relatives of four additional Americans who died there over the past year have raised concerns.

Visit Florida Slashes Staff

May 24, 2019

Visit Florida cut one-third of its staff Thursday, slashing its payroll after the state Legislature cut funding for the tourism agency by 34 percent. 

Courtesy Purpose in Paradise

The U.S. Virgin Islands are finally rebounding after suffering two major hurricanes back-to-back. One tourism innovation may have played a part in that.

Courtesy of Disney

More visitors are coming to the sunshine state, according to new figures released by the state. But the state is losing ground on tourists from out of the country.

Florida announced today that 35.7 million visitors came to Florida in the first quarter – a new record.

“As we work to diversify Florida’s economy, it is critical that we keep visitation to Florida, and the revenue it generates, healthy and robust,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis in a press release.

Visit Florida Signs Off On Budget Cuts

May 15, 2019

Faced with a “prove-it” year to state lawmakers, the board of Florida’s tourism-marketing arm on Wednesday approved a 30 percent payroll cut.

A reluctant Visit Florida Board of Directors agreed to slash payroll by $3.65 million, and strategic marketing by $17.8 million, with an acknowledgement the agency must do a better job of selling itself to lawmakers, particularly in the House, which sought to eliminate the public-private agency during this year’s legislative session.

Visit Florida survived in the session -- but took a 34 percent funding cut.

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