Thursday, September 04, 2008

Latin Americans Boost Flagging Local Tourism

With airlines cutting domestic flights, Latin Americans could boost a faltering tourism market.

Roberto Negretti expects a flood of Latin Americans for Thanksgiving this fall, an encouraging sign for South Florida's tourism landscape.

The head of sales for a cluster of hotels near Miami International Airport reports strong demand for his Thanksgiving shopping packages, where Brazilians, Venezuelans and others board flights Thanksgiving Day, eat a turkey dinner that night, then pile into buses before dawn to hit the malls.

''I expect 2,000, 3,000 people,'' Negretti said as he set up his booth for La Cumbre, a major Latin American travel show running through Friday in Miami Beach.

Optimism surrounds the Latin travel market in South Florida, where a sour economy has warded off domestic vacationers at a pace not seen since the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The stakes are high, since Latin America made up 52 percent of South Florida's international tourism market last year and has helped insulate the region's biggest airport from the loss of flights plaguing other destinations throughout the country. To read more click here.

Thu, Sep. 04, 2008