Is tourism in Miami Beach going downhill?

Hotel owners voice concerns after seeing decline in business

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Talk to people familiar with tourism on Miami Beach and you get a sense of nervousness about the upcoming high season.

"The numbers aren't the same as last year," business owner Mitch Novick said.

For Novick, it's not a huge deal because his hotel, The Sherbrooke, is undergoing million-dollar renovations. 

"My international tourist that I've been catering to for nearly three decades all ask me what has happened to this place," he said.

Novick said the decline in tourism is partly because of the reputation the beach has garnered due to crime and noise on Ocean Drive. 

Two other hotel managers Local 10 News reporter Hatzel Vela spoke to by phone said they have also seen a decline in business.

One said the situation is the worst he’s seen in 25 years.

Another said Art Basel travelers were fearful of the U.S. election results, so they were waiting to book hotel rooms.

There is also the economic slowdown in Latin American and European countries, plus the Zika virus scare.

On Wednesday, Local 10 got an email from the upscale Delano Hotel, reminding clients that they still have rooms available.

The city's collected resort tax is also down from last year. 

"We may see a little dip in the room rates (and) we may see a little dip in the bookings," Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco said.

Grieco has been talking to small and large hotels about the issue. 

"One of the major factors is the strength of the U.S. dollar coupled with changes in economies and lack of demand in Europe and South America to actually come to the United States," Grieco said.

And in tourism, things are cyclical, and those with business interests on the beach remain optimistic. 

"We're Miami Beach. We have a beautiful beach. We have amazing hotels," Grieco said. "We have things to offer that are consistent and we'll always be here."

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