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“Greater Miami and the Beaches stands out as a premier international hub with assets spanning from a flourishing downtown and financial district to the beautiful Miami Beach and everything in between,” says William D. Talbert, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.

With so much to offer its visitors, alongside Florida’s consistently high ranking in Recommend’s annual Readers’ Choice Award as a top destination for weddings, honeymoons, family vacations, and an overall best seller in the U.S., Miami is continuously evolving and expanding to further entice travelers to head over to south Florida. Here are the highlights of what’s new in Miami and what to keep an eye out for.

Planes, Train, Ships and More
“Miami International Airport (MIA) is home to more than 100 carriers; that is more than any other airport in the United States,” says Talbert. “The airport also offers more than 150 inbound direct flights daily, along with onsite car rental and rail connection to Downtown Miami.”

LOT Polish Airlines
LOT Polish Airlines will fly between Miami and Warsaw starting June 2019.

Miami International Airport continues to attract new airline carriers and also introduce new international routes through existing airline partners. For example, Norwegian began its first-ever service at the airport on March 31, 2019. The launch give travelers a daily nonstop option between MIA and London Gatwick Airport, while those headed to Morocco can fly aboard the new Royal Air Maroc flight to Casablanca, which launched on April 3, 2019. Several new flight service options are also expected to become available next month. Starting June 1, LOT Polish Airlines will offer nonstop flights between Miami and Warsaw, Poland, while American Airlines will begin flights between MIA and Cordoba, Argentina on June 7. French airline Corsair will also launch service at MIA on June 10 with four weekly flights to Paris Orly Airport, giving south Florida travelers another option to reach this popular European destination.

For those traveling through Miami—the “Cruise Capital of the World”—by sea, there is no shortage of cruise lines and itineraries to choose from. In fact, a record number of 5,592,000 cruise passengers traveled through PortMiami during the October 2017 to September 2018 period—more than any other port in the world. Twenty cruise brands offer itineraries from PortMiami sailing to the Caribbean, South America, and beyond.

“New investments in cruise terminals by leading companies such as Norwegian Cruise LineRoyal Caribbean and more, further Miami’s position as the Cruise Capital of the World and continues to showcase Miami as a global destination connecting the Americas,” says Talbert.

MSC Cruises and the soon-to-launch Virgin Voyages  are also among the cruise lines privately investing in new state-of-the-art terminals to house their newest and largest ships in PortMiami. New ship arrivals to PortMiami include the MSC Meraviglia and the Norwegian Encore, scheduled to arrive on Nov. 10 and 17, 2019, respectively. Virgin Voyages’ first ship, the Scarlet Lady, is scheduled to make her debut in Miami on April 1, 2020.

MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises to build new multi-ship terminal at PortMiami by 2022. (Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises.)

And once visitors arrive in Miami, they’ll find that hopping on the Brightline, the U.S.’s first new, private intercity passenger railroad in over a century, will make getting around south Florida even more accessible. Brightline currently offers service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach with plans to expand to Orlando and Tampa. The company also recently announced a strategic partnership with Virgin Group to establish the new Virgin Trains USA brand.

“These continued developments position Miami and the Beaches as a destination that attracts both the domestic and international traveler,” adds Talbert.

Hotel Happenings
Visitor numbers are continuously on the rise, therefore the Miami hotel landscape is also expanding to keep up with the high demand while offering a mix of boutique hotels and larger resorts.

Recently opened properties include Life House South Beach and Mr. C Coconut Grove. Located in the South of Fifth neighborhood, Life House South Beach opened this spring as the Life House brand’s second property in Miami. An eclectic yet curated beach cottage, the property evokes the sense of being in the home of an artist, writer, or painter with the seashore just a few steps away. It features 26 guestrooms, 13 quad suites designed for group travel, a lobby cafe, a bar, and a backyard kitchen. Meanwhile, Mr. C Coconut Grove, which also opened this spring, is suspended on sculptural slits in the tree canopy of Coconut Grove with 100 guestrooms and suites featuring private outdoor terraces. Designed with a sustainable and community-oriented focus, the hotel will also offer a rooftop pool, a Spa Suite and fitness center, among other luxury amenities, plus the Bellini Restaurant and Bar.

In addition, the new EVEN Hotel Miami Airport also recently opened. Part of InterContinental Hotels Group’s upscale brand with wellness woven throughout the property, EVEN Hotel Miami Airport features 190 guestroom, each with an in-room fitness zone and personal exercise equipment. The hotel also provides a heated outdoor pool, a fitness clothing laundry service, and healthy food and beverage options, as well as a larger-than-usual fitness center that is open around the clock.

Local favorites are also poised to re-enter the market after undergoing renovations. The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, for example, will reopen its doors in late 2019 after a multi-year, property-wide renovation inclusive of guestrooms, suites, spa, Club Lounge, restaurants and bars, plus the lobby, meeting spaces and pool. Other properties unveiling new upgrades and renovations include Hyatt Regency MiamiThe Ritz-Carlton Coconut GroveHilton Miami Airport Blue Lagoon, and more. The JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa is also amping up the family fun with the addition of its new Tidal Cove Waterpark featuring a 60-ft. tower with seven water slides; a 4,000-sq.-ft. kids pool with an aquatic play structure; plus the first-ever FlowRider Triple surf simulation pool in that nation.

Cool Cuisine
Once your clients reach Miami, they’ll find culinary offerings as diverse as the city itself. For a taste of southern Italian fare, travelers can head to the Amare Ristorante, which sits just steps away from the beach in the South of Fifth district. Created by restaurateur Gino Lovino, owner of award-winning restaurant Girasole in Atlantic City, in partnership with Michelin-starred chef Cosimo Cassano and Franco Ricatti, Amare’s expansive menu includes classic dishes made in-house with seasonal ingredients flown directly from Italy. Miami visitors can also take their tastebuds further south at Orilla Restaurant, a South American Patagonian dining venue helmed by celebrated chef Fernando Trocca and in partnership with restauranteur Martin Pittaluga. Slated to open in June, Orilla will offer a simple and affordable menu with cuisine featuring local products. Meanwhile, La Placita in the MiMo District brings the sounds, smells, and of course, cuisine, of Puerto Rico to locals and visitors alike. Equal parts restaurant, family-friendly marketplace and late-night hangout, La Placita remains true to its roots with tapas-style sharing plates made with local and traditional ingredients from all corners of Puerto Rico.

Time Out Market Miami
Rendering of the interior of the new Time Out Market Miami.

Other new openings to keep in mind are the breakfast venue The Egg Spot opening this spring; the Central Fare marketplace and food hall;and Osaka, which serves guests dishes that fuse Japanese techniques with Peruvian flavors and ingredients. In addition, on May 9th, Miami will welcome a new food hall—Time Out Market Miami. As the first outpost of this food hall in the United States outside the infamous Time Out Market Lisbon, the Miami installment will feature dishes from James Beard award-winning chefs, as well as cocktails and more from well-known local bars such as the Broken Shaker, Sweet Liberty, and Generator Hostel Miami.

Advice For Advisors
When asked what advice he has for advisors booking their client’s first trip to Miami, Talbert encourages agents to give their clients off-the-beaten-path suggestions in some of Miami’s lesser-known but equally fascinating and culturally enriching neighborhoods.

“Greater Miami has a colorful and unique blend of multicultural neighborhoods that enhance the experience for visitors coming for business or for pleasure. These include Little Havana, Historic Overtown, Coconut Grove Village West, and Little Haiti. Each of these neighborhoods are culturally rich with historically significant landmarks and one-of-a-kind experiences,” says Talbert. “There are plenty of #FoundInMiami activities as unique as the destination itself. Make sure to extend your stay and explore some of Miami’s off-the-beaten-path experiences.”

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