South Florida hotels haven't yet seen bottom of market

The tourism industry continues to worsen in South Florida, with hotel taxes dropping faster in February than in January and recovery proving more difficult than it was after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

In Miami-Dade, South Florida's largest lodging market, tax revenues from hotel guests plunged 24 percent in February after a 17 percent drop in January.

"For me, it was no boat show," said Kevin McLaney, general manager of the Ocean Five Hotel in South Beach. February's Miami International Boat Show usually brings a windfall to hotels. Other big events — including December's Art Basel fair — also drew fewer visitors this winter and spring.

Broward saw a similar trend, with February tax revenues down 20 percent over a year ago compared with January's 16 percent drop.

The numbers confirm what hoteliers have been saying: They can't yet detect a bottom in a tourism decline that is now outpacing the fallout that followed the September 2001 terrorist attacks.


Related stories from Columbus Ledger-Enquirer