New destination hotel offerings are shifting toward luxury, upscale, and midscale space. More than 4,500 hotel rooms are projected to open in Broward County through 2024, according to statistics from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, the county's economic development organization. In all, the county currently has more than 34,000 hotel rooms. Notable lodging projects include the multi-million-dollar renovations at the The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, the opening of the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, and the highly-anticipated 2020 opening of The Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences.
BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE FOR GROWTH
Multi-billion-dollar public and private sector infrastructure programs are adding value to Broward County’s visitor appeal. Among the projects:
As the third-largest cruise port in the world, Port Everglades, located in Hollywood, continues to expand to accommodate new ships, including the addition of a $120 million terminal for Celebrity Cruise Lines’ new Celebrity Edge – one of the most anticipated ship launches in 2018. In all, the port serves nine cruise lines and more than 40 ships. Traffic has grown in kind. In 2008, the port handled 2.6 million passengers. Last year, it topped 3.89 million with anticipation of seven million passengers annually within 20 years.
More than $3 billion in capital improvements at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport – an 8,000-foot runway lengthening in 2014, and new concourses and U.S. Customs facilities – are fueling the nation’s fastest-growing airport. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport saw some 35.96 million passengers in 2018, up 10 percent from the year prior. Of those, 27.35 million were domestic passengers. In all, domestic air arrivals were up 8.2 percent for the year, compared to a 7.2 percent increase from the preceding year, with international air traffic up by 8.6 million, or 19.8 percent – for the fifth straight year of international growth. In the past two decades, the airport has been rated the most affordable in the region, offering the lowest average round-trip ticket price of any South Florida airport, notes the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Services.
The state’s only high-speed passenger rail service, Brightline connects downtown Fort Lauderdale with downtown Miami 30 minutes to the south and downtown West Palm Beach equidistant to the north. Recently acquired by Virgin Trains, Brightline is contributing to an influx of visitors to nearby emerging neighborhoods such as FATVillage (Fashion, Art, Technology), and MASS District (Music, Arts South of Sunset), featuring galleries, boutiques, cafes, nightlife and outdoor art, and the downtown Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center Expansion. Broward County is investing $900 million to rebuild and expand the convention center and add an 800-room headquarters hotel and visitors’ center. The new facility will offer the MICE industry over a million square feet of indoor and outdoor space, including 350,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, a new 65,000-square-foot ballroom and a waterfront setting to attract high-rated events and gatherings.