Broward County tourism officials are betting on 13 to be a lucky number this year.
With hotel occupancy trending up, the successful launch of a winter campaign and summer promotions now underway, local tourism officials are predicting another bumper tourism year.
"There will be 13 million visitors in 2013," said Nicki E. Grossman, president of Greater Fort Lauderdale Visitors & Convention Bureau. "Our demand is up. Our international forecasts are up. Sports activity is up. Family reunion business is up."
Last year, 12.04 million people visited Broward County and spent $9.8 billion in the area, with more than $2 billion each spent on rooms and food.
Last month's 87.6 percent hotel occupancy rate was the area's highest February occupancy since 2006, according to CVB data.
Grossman made the prediction Friday during a presentation at the Broward County Convention Center as part of the fifth annual Economic Engine Performance Report.
In 2013, the Fort Lauderdale Airport is expecting about 1 percent growth in overall passenger traffic, Business Development Manager Steve Belleme said Monday.
That forecast is partly based on the projected growth of JetBlue Airways and other carriers at the airport, Belleme noted.
The Fort Lauderdale airport welcomed 23.6 million passengers in 2012, ranking it the 21st busiest airport in the U.S., according to airport data. Passenger traffic at the airport has jumped 38 percent jump in the last decade.
With JetBlue and others adding new routes or expanding service from the Fort Lauderdale airport, and the growth that's expected to follow the completion of the south runway expansion in 2014, the "future is bright," Belleme noted.
Over at Port Everglades, officials at the Broward seaport expect more than 3.6 million passengers to travel there during 2013.
Port officials expect a new marketing and advertising campaign promoting the seaport's strengths to cruise and cargo business in key markets to help boost traffic and awareness. They also plan to spread the word through participation in trade missions to South America, Central America, Asia and Europe.
In fiscal 2012, 838 cruises called at the port, carrying 3.76 million cruise passengers, including daily and multi-day cruisers, according to a report released last week on the port's local and regional impact.
Royal Caribbean International had the most port calls —162 — carrying 1.68 million passengers, followed by Princess Cruises' 124 calls and 649,036 passengers, according to the report. Rounding out the top five for passengers were Holland America Lines (488,546), Carnival Cruise Lines (450,589) and Celebrity Cruises (241,616).
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