HAPPY 2019! 

As we start the new year, I want to send a special thank you to our hospitality community. You make the destination warm and welcoming to our visitors. We look forward to working closely with each of you as we make 2019 the best it can be!

 ~ Stacy


We need your nominations for the 2018/2019 SUNsational Service Courtesy Awards! We will recognize front line hospitality employees who go above and beyond during our National Tourism Appreciation Day luncheon & SUNsational Service Courtesy Awards, Wed, May 8 at the Broward County Convention Center.

As we strive to provide SUNsational Service to Greater Fort Lauderdale visitors, we invite you to submit a nomination to recognize the most helpful and courteous hospitality industry employees - valet, lifeguard, bellman, housekeeper, taxi driver, server, baggage handler, reservationist, etc. CLICK HERE to nominate.
Nominations must be submitted by March 2. Contact Rita at rwells@broward.org
with questions.


Greater Fort Lauderdale Average Hotel Occupancy
November 2018
% Change
Greater Fort Lauderdale Average Hotel Daily Rate
November 2018
% Change


Flight 19, a new American restaurant and bar on Las Olas Boulevard specializing in tasty food and friendly service. The restaurant is named after the mysterious disappearance of five aircrafts in the Bermuda triangle after taking off from Fort Lauderdale in 1945.

Andy’s Live Fire Grill recently opened (former location of Dirty Ernie’s) in Fort Lauderdale. “Live fire” refers to the restaurant’s wood-burning grill in the open kitchen, which perfumes the 90-seat dining room with the sweet smell of red oak. Another 60 seats are located on the second floor, featuring two bars (inside and on a deck covered with artificial grass). Next up: Anthony’s Pronto Kitchen in downtown Fort Lauderdale will provide Italian entrees takeout.

Hotsy-Totsy Bar and Grill opened in Hollywood (former location of Lola’s on Harrison), serving flatbreads, light bites and tapas-style sharing plates. Next up: a new speakeasy, Sidecar, is in the works.

Extreme Axe Throwing opened in mid-December in downtown Hollywood, offering competitive and recreational player-interactive targets.


Chef Dean Max returns to Fort Lauderdale with new seafood restaurant Even Keel Fish & Oyster in Fort Lauderdale. Modern Floridian coastal dining, highlighting the season’s vibrant, locally sourced bounty from both land and sea. The kitchen is a chef-driven, farm-to-table workshop where they create ever-changing menus dictated by the season’s finest products of time and place. Opening Jan 2019. 

The restaurant group, PDKN Restaurant, (Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill and The Balcony) are opening Bo’s Beach on Fort Lauderdale beach and will serve seafood and wood-fired dishes and will have indoor and outdoor seating. Anticipated opening winter 2019.


3 Sons Brewing Co. opening soon in Dania Beach with unconventional beer for unconventional palates, including 20 taps of beers and great food made fresh.

American Icon Brewery Kitchen and Taproom, opening in mid-February in Flagler Village, featuring rotating taps of different American Icon Brewery beers plus a fresh, delicious gastropub menu. 

Sistrunk Marketplace and Brewery, A food hall. A brewery. A marketplace. From unique food vendors to cooking classes, brewery tours, art installations, live music, and even a music production academy. Opening March 2019.

Dangerous Minds Brewing Company in Pompano Beach, will offer beers inspired by major thinkers and philosophers. Opening spring 2019.

Stay up-to-date with Greater Fort Lauderdale's Ale Trail featuring 500 different beers, from a Hefeweizen made with Florida-grown mangos, to malty imports from across the globe. Click here for more info.


This month, Ivonne MacMillan will meet with journalists and consumers as part of the CVB’s activation with VISIT FLORIDA’S Canada Takeover “Moments of Sunshine” in Toronto.

Greater Fort Lauderdale welcomes journalists for a group media visit during Art Fort Lauderdale from Jan 24-27. The FAM will focus on the burgeoning arts and culture scene in Greater Fort Lauderdale.

Snapshot from the UK:

The UK PR team received great coverage (see below) by social media influencers and fitness bloggers on the Get Fit in Fort Lauderdale group press trip, curated and hosted by Hills Balfour.

Olivia Blair’s individual press trip, secured by the UK team, produced a fantastic luxury article on the destination featured online in Harper’s Bazaar


What We've Been Doing:

In December, Gabriel Martinez attended the American Cup Golf Invitational in Las Vegas, which gathers golf tour operators and wholesalers from Europe, Canada, Australia and receptive markets. Justin Flippen and Gabriel managed an Abreu Tours FAM showcasing GFL to tour operators from international markets and providing training. Gabriel pictured here with the FAM at the Florida Panthers game.

Snapshot from the UK:

The UK Sales & Marketing team attended TTG’s inaugural New to Cruise event in Manchester targeting sales agents who are new to the world of cruise, showcasing both Port Everglades and the GFL for a cruise-and-stay option. The team is also attending Florida Huddle and various trade shows in Scandinavia.


November total traffic: 2,982,375, up 8.9%; domestic traffic: 2,289,393, up 7.5%; international traffic: 692,982, up 14.1%. Total traffic has increased 55 out of the last 56 months. Year-to-Date (YTD) total passengers 32,667,140, up 10.9% and there were 28 more scheduled daily departures vs November 2017. Total passenger traffic for CY 2018 is expected to reach close to 36 million passengers.

New Service: November: Swoop to Hamilton, Ontario and Frontier to Trenton and Islip; December: Spirit to Cali, Colombia and JetBlue to Steamboat Springs. 

Coming Soon: January: Silver to Daytona Beach; February: JetBlue to Phoenix, St. Maarten and Guayaquil; Spirit to Jacksonville and Austin and Silver to Pensacola and The Bight (Bahamas); March: WestJet to St. Johns Newfoundland and Frontier to Denver.


Last month, the Miami Dolphins in partnership with the GFLCVB hosted their 4th FOOTBALL UNITES™ Cultural Tour in an effort to experience historical locations throughout Broward County. Dolphins players MarQueis Gray, Francis Owusu and Jonathan Woodard, alumnus Nat Moore, as well as Dolphins cheerleaders and staff spent the day with local youth, community leaders and law enforcement to understand the richness and diversity of the area. (Carol Hudson pictured above with the group on Fort Lauderdale beach). 

Sports Development welcomes more than 25,000 athletes, coaches and families in January including:
 Connect Sports Diversity Events Summit in Fort Lauderdale, USTA/IFT Women’s Pathway Tennis Tournament in Plantation, Pegasus World Cup Invitational horse race at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, College Swim Training in Coral Springs/Fort Lauderdale/Pompano, Florida Lacrosse Classic in Weston, and Rising Stars Girls Softball Nationals and Showcase in Davie/Plantation.


Fort Lauderdale Art & Design Week (Jan 19-27) Fort Lauderdale's artists and arts & cultural institutions join efforts to highlight all that the city has to offer through an annual self-guided tour and celebration of everything art and culture throughout Greater Fort Lauderdale. During the week, Art Fort Lauderdale "The Art Affair on the Water" (Jan 24-27) highlights the uniqueness of the city with a cultural experience that is memorable, interactive and engaging. Above is the billboard heading northbound on US 1 near FLL. 

FLL Fashion Week (Mar 14-16) Fort Lauderdale's premier fashion event offering an international platform for designers from the region to seamlessly connect with media and buyers, increasing the domestic awareness of home grown fashion and increase the global presence of Fort Lauderdale design, while highlighting the culture and sophisticated glamour that solidify FLL as a style capital. 

FILM PERMITS = 49 including projects by Critical Thinking; Death of a Fool; The Laundromat; Fort Lauderdale Destination Marketing; Jerry Jeudy Hometown; Jedidiah Learning Steps; When She Flies; Monroe and Main; Next Directory; Robot; VF French; AOR Health; Chewy.com; City Furniture; Cocochew; FP&L; Club 57 – Season 1; Dog’s Best Friend; Fire Rescue; House Hunters International; Hustle & Soul; Indian Culture Project; City of Miramar.


Groups meeting in January will generate more than $2.3 million to Broward County. Groups include:
Jan 2-11: United Motorcoach Association Annual Meeting (3000 attendees)

Jan 5-11: SAP Latin America (1300 attendees)
Jan 11-20: Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (7000 attendees)
Jan 16-24: ETF.com 2019 (1000 attendees)
Jan 17-21: FLIRT 2019 Bowling Tournament (700 attendees)
Jan 18-19: LifeWay Christian Resources  TWA-2019 (3000 attendees)

Jan 21-26: IMBC 2019 (500 attendees)
Jan 21-26: GMAC 2019 Leadership Conference (800 attendees)
Jan 21-27: MFV Expositions - Franchise Expo South (5000 attendees)
Jan 23-24: AUPO 2019 Annual Meeting (500 attendees)
Jan 24-Feb 1: Int'l Symposium on Endovascular Therapy (600 attendees)
Jan 27-Feb 3: ITEXPO 2019 (2000 attendees)


Jan 11-13: Marvel Universe Live, BB&T Center
Jan 12: Art Explosion 2019, ARTSERVE, INC.
Jan 14: School House Rock Live! Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Jan 17: Robert Klein, Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Jan 17: The Righteous Brothers, Parker Playhouse
Jan 17-24: Glass: The IMAX 2D Experience, Museum of Discovery & Science
Jan 18: Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure, Parker Playhouse
Jan 18: Rat Pack Together Again, Rose & Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center
Jan 18: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Florida Panthers, BB&T Center
Jan 18: Toni Tony Tone, Miramar Cultural Center
Jan 18-Feb 10: The Producers, Lauderhill Performing Arts Center
Jan 19: Cher:  Here We Go Again, BB&T Center
Jan 19: Downtown Hollywood Artwalk, Market & Mural Tour
Jan 19: The Prestigious Haitian Music Awards, Miramar Cultural Center
Jan 21: San Jose Sharks vs. Florida Panthers, BB&T Center
Jan 21-26: Sistrunk A Fair             
Jan 23: Porgy & Bess, Broward Center
Jan 24: Russell Peters, Hard Rock Live
Jan 24-27: Art Fort Lauderdale, Intracoastal Waterway
Jan 25: Smokey Robinson, Hard Rock Live
Jan 25: Marvin Sapp, Miramar Cultural Center
Jan 26: FAT Village ARTWALK
Jan 26: Crash Test Dummies, Revolution Live
Jan 26: The Teacher’s Lounge, Miramar Cultural Center
Jan 26: Howie Mandel, Hard Rock Live
Jan 26: KISS Country 99.9 Chili Cook Off CB Smith Park
Jan 29: Toni Braxton with special guest SWV, Hard Rock Live
Jan 30: Suze Orman, Jillian Michaels & Clinton Kelly,  Charles F. Dodge Center
Jan 31: Penn & Teller, Hard Rock Live

For more events visit sunny.org/events. If you would like to submit an event for approval, go to sunny.org/submit.

Best wishes,

Stacy Ritter, President



Forbes: Where To Go Next: 14 Best Places To Travel In The US In 2019

Travel + Leisure: The Best Places to Travel in February

CNN Travel: How to vacation in culture-rich Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Smarter Travel: 
The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Visit in 2019

Bloomberg: Where to go in 2019

Le Journal de Montreal: Un Québécois hôtelier à Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

TowlerRoad: Fort Lauderdale: 5 Fabulous Highlights for Gay Travelers

Macaroni Kid Family Travel: 9 Travel-Worthy New Year’s Eve Countdowns


We invite you to create special offers including spa treatments for two, wine pairings or other creative ideas for our visitors looking for romance. We will promote your packages on sunny.org/valentines 
and social media. Submit your offers under your
partner login. If you need your login, contact Rita. When creating your coupons, be sure to select the Valentine coupon category. Questions? Contact Justin.


Journey back to the 16th century as you step through castle gates and into the days of yore at the
Renaissance Festival. Explore the artisans' village and view live demos of glassblowing, steel-fighting, archery, and more. Feast on hearty food fit for a king while enjoying live performances on stage and in the lanes, including thrice-daily jousting events. Feb 9-Mar 24, weekends only.

The 18th Annual Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food (SOBEWFF®) 
festival returns, along with the Crave Greater Fort Lauderdale  series, Feb 22-24. Click here for a list of the star-studded line-up of talent coming to Greater Fort Lauderdale.


Greater Fort Lauderdale welcomes Pride Fort Lauderdale (Feb 21-24) to the beach, an annual celebration and tribute to the LGBT+ community and its unique culture. The festival includes world renowned entertainers, local & national exhibitors, food court and the first-ever Carnaval Pride Parade (Feb 23) on Fort Lauderdale beach from 
Sebastian Beach to Fort Lauderdale Beach Park.  

The planning has begun for the Southern Comfort Transgender Conference 
returning to Greater Fort Lauderdale in September at the Riverside Hotel. Richard Gray pictured above at a planning session with the board. 



Hollywood was named one of 13 Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in Florida by Coastal Living




Port Everglades welcomed Holland America Line’s newest cruise ship, Nieuw Statendam, last month on its maiden call to the U.S. This winter season, Port Everglades welcomes 10 Holland America cruise ships, and has the distinct honor of being the host port for the Nieuw Statendam’s official naming on Feb 2. 
The 99,902-ton vessel accommodates 2,666 guests. 

Baleària Caribbean will be adding the fast ferry Jaume II between Fort Lauderdale and Freeport, Grand Bahama replacing the Jaume I as of mid-Jan. Jaume II was re-engined for greater energy efficiency and service reliability as well as a higher speed. The ferry will complete the route in two and a half hours and offers four weekly connections on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Port Everglades ranked as one of the three busiest cruise ports in the world with more than 3.87 million passengers in fiscal year 2018. 


The convention sales team recently participated in: 
Tallahassee Holiday Event (pictured here), Destination International 2018 in 
New Orleans, IAEE EXPO! EXPO! in New Orleans, SMG National Sales Meeting in New Orleans, Holly Trolley Networking Event in Chicago and Florida Encounter in Bonita Springs. 


Jan 8–11: Florida Huddle, Daytona Beach (Gabriel Martinez)
Jan 11–14: Travel and Adventure Show, Chicago (Gonzalo Rubio)
Jan 13-14: Great Bridal Expo, Boston & NYC (Rita Wells)
Jan 14-17: VISIT FLORIDA "Moments of Sunshine" Takeover, Toronto (Ivonne MacMillan)

Jan 25–28: American Bus Association, Louisville (Gonzalo Rubio)


Maria Mele, Julia Johnson, Kathy Hall, Liz Liddell and Rita Wells at the 11th Annual Denim & Dough Day for the American Cancer Society at the Broward County Convention Center, raising more than $1,000.

Click here to check out more of our CVB team in action at various events and functions around the world.

Copyright © 2018 Visit Lauderdale Our address is 101 NE 3rd Avenue Suite 100, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 Tel: 954-765-4466 • U.S. and Canada: 800-22-SUNNY • gflcvb@broward.org unsubscribe