tourism

courtesy: Keys News Service

Fifty percent unemployment? 

That's the guess from Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi. 

Tourist Towns Without Tourists: Keys Close Down To Visitors

Mar 21, 2020
Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Imagine the Florida Keys without tourists.

Carol Wightman, an owner of the Marquesa Hotel since it opened 32 years ago in Key West, simply can’t.

She was stunned by the county’s decision to shut down lodging to tourists.

“You might as well shutter the whole town,” Wightman said.

Lynne Sladky / AP Photo

Some beaches have closed. Cruise ships are docked. Airlines have grounded some planes. Disney and Universal in Orlando are closed. Local attractions are shut down. Theaters are dark. Hotel reservations are cancelled. Restaurants and bars are closing early.

This business hasn’t slowed. In many cases it has stopped.

Original Marathon Seafood Festival

Posted at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 12

One of the industries hit hardest by the coronavirus is travel. And the Florida Keys — while having no confirmed cases as of Thursday afternoon — are already feeling the effects.

Marta Lavandier / AP Photo

Jay Foreman is no stranger to China and the global supply chain. He runs Basic Fun, based in Boca Raton. It imports toys like My Little Pony Classic and Pound Puppies from China. A dozen Basic Fun employees work in China and 65 work in Hong Kong.

tourism
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Tourism is part of the lifeblood of South Florida's economy.

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau — the marketing agency for Broward County —introduced its 2020 vision for attracting new visitors to the area at a luncheon Wednesday, inside the soon-to-be-redone county convention center. 

The State Department plans to deny tourist visas to pregnant women if officials believe they are traveling here to secure American citizenship for their child by giving birth on U.S. soil.

The Trump administration says it is targeting the practice known as "birth tourism." The State Department says that traveling to deliver a child in the U.S. is not "a legitimate activity for pleasure or of a recreational nature."

Bob Krist / Florida Keys News Bureau

After Hurricane Irma slammed into the Florida Keys in September 2017, the island chain saw a drop in visitors. Now the primary industry in the Keys is back — and it's booming.

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.

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