The New Center of the Visitor Experience
April 29, 2022
DowntownFTL is becoming the new center of the visitor experience. Between the weeks of March 8th and March 22nd, DowntownFTL averaged about 78K additional visits per week compared to 2019 (the last pre-COVID comparable year). During those peak spring break weeks, DowntownFTL saw a range of 70K to 96K additional visits compared to 2019. This translates to a 35% increase in visits to DowntownFTL during peak spring break weeks. At least 50,000 of these additional visits are from out of town tourists, a trend that is being seen during peak travel periods year round.
As DowntownFTL has evolved into a vibrant city for residents and employees, tourists are increasingly taking notice of what the urban core has to offer and spending more time downtown. No longer your parents' spring break destination, today's visitors are seeking an elevated downtown experience.
This trend is also occurring in Flagler Village. Between the weeks of March 8th and March 22nd, Flagler Village on average experienced an additional 33K visits over the average week. This translates to a 34% increase in tourists exploring the neighborhood. At least 25,000 of the 33,000 visits are from out of town.
This increase in visitors spending time downtown is mainly due to a handful of factors:
The opening of new DowntownFTL hotels like the Hyatt Centric Las Olas and the Courtyard by Marriot Fort Lauderdale Downtown. In total, over 1,500 new downtown hotel rooms have opened over the past years. This is increasing the share of leisure and business travelers that increasingly make DowntownFTL the home of their visitor experience.
The rise of the downtown restaurant scene, which is experiencing a 24% increase in restaurant seating levels compared to pre-pandemic levels. DowntownFTL has 1 in 4 citywide restaurants.
Rising density, which is creating a walkable urban experience comparable to major cities from all over the country.
This trend will continue going forward. 1,000 additional hotel rooms are on the books to be built. This includes The Whitfield, which recently broke ground and is poised to become the only 5-star luxury hotel on Las Olas Boulevard.