This week, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) announced record-breaking travel and tourism numbers, with a 6.4 percent increase in overnight visitors to the Miami area in 2015. During that time, the destination welcomed a total of 15.5 million overnight visitors, with a record 8 million visitors from domestic markets and 7.5 million international visitors. Thanks to GMCVB global marketing programs, New York became the destination’s first $2 billion market, contributing a record economic impact of $2.3 billion—only rivaled by the destination’s billion dollar markets of Brazil and Colombia. The total economic impact of overnight visitors to Greater Miami reached a record $24.4 billion last year.

“More than a year ago, GMCVB launched the ‘It’s So Miami’ neighborhood-centric marketing campaign aimed at extending visitors’ stays as part of an economic impact strategy.  Today, we announce New York as the first-ever $2 billion dollar market alongside strong billion dollar international markets of Brazil and Colombia,” says GMCVB President and CEO William D. Talbert, III.

“More visitors are staying longer and fueling record-breaking economic impacts thanks to GMCVB efforts.  In addition, we grew the European market by 5.9 percent and grew the Latin American market by 3 percent, despite the strength of the dollar against the Euro and Latin American currencies. Of the 1 million new visitors into Miami, nearly half of them were first-time visitors. This can be attributed to the GMCVB’s aggressive international marketing programs and our collaboration with Miami International Airport (MIA) to attract more global carriers and expand air-service into Miami and the beaches.”

Ninety six percent of visitors to Greater Miami arrived by air. Among the international visitors, a 7.2 percent increase came from emerging markets, including Asia, the Middle East and Australia. With existing carriers, such American Airlines expanding service, and new airlines flying into Miami International Airport, visitors via Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, TAP, Lufthansa, Air France and Scandinavian Airways are able to make new connections into the destination.

Along with an expected increase in airport arrivals and new hotels set to open in the coming months, GMCVB predicts additional growth with the completion of a $615 million expansion and renovation to Miami Beach Convention Center, and potentially adjacent headquarter hotel.