Fort Lauderdale targets UK buyers

Greater Fort Lauderdale’s Convention & Visitors Bureau is investing in its first significant campaign to attract more international C&I business, particularly groups from the UK. The Florida city has seen the addition of a number of luxury hotels in the past year, which the CVB’s vice-president of tourism and international business, Alfredo Gonzalez, believes makes it more attractive to corporates: “In the past, we just didn’t have the right product to target meetings and incentives – the hotels were not good enough,” he explained. “Now, with some of the new and upcoming properties we will have a much better offer to push out there.” Recent openings include Florida’s first St Regis Resort, the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach, and the Hollywood Beach Marriott, which, along with other new and upcoming projects, will make around 4,000 additional rooms available by the end of 2008. The CVB has already devised a marketing plan for the 12 months from October 2007, which so far includes having a presence at all the major trade shows in Europe including EIBTM and Confex. It is also planning fam trips to the city and Gonzalez said there is the potential for promotional partnerships with hotel groups and the State of Florida. Currently, around 10% of domestic visitors to Fort Lauderdale come from the meetings and incentives sector and Gonzalez said his eventual aim for international C&I business is to match the domestic figure.

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