Recession brings slower recovery for South Florida hotels than 9/11 did


For a lesson in the deep damage done by the Great Recession, compare the tourism recovery to the fall-out from the 2001 terrorist attacks.

South Florida hotels rebounded faster from the Sept. 2001 terrorist attacks than they have from the financial crisis of September 2008.

The latest hotel-tax figures out of Broward and Miami-Dade show the recovery from the recession continues at a decent clip, with Miami-Dade far outpacing Broward in the rebound. Both markets are back to record hotel-tax collections, though Broward only hit that milestone in May while Miami-Dade crossed the threshold way back in April 2011.

But the more interesting recoveries may be comparing the fall-out from the 2001 terrorist attacks and the 2008 financial crisis. Both events slammed tourism in South Florida.

While U.S. vacationers returned to the skies fairly quickly after the 2001 attacks, crackdowns on visas cut deeply into the region’s flow of foreign tourists. And while corporate bookings collapsed after the 2001 attacks too, the drop-off in group business was much steeper in 2008 amid the severe recession and the backlash against Wall Street lavishness.

With fewer foreign tourists, Broward recovered quicker from 9/11 than Miami-Dade did. In the 52 months after September 2008, the yearly average of hotel taxes collected in Broward has grown 6 percent, compared to a 33 percent rebound in the 52 months after September 2001.

In Miami-Dade, foreign tourists insulated hotels from the sharp drop off in corporate bookings during the 2007-09 recession. The post-08 recovery is still slower than the post-01 recovery, but not by much.

Miami-Dade’s hotel taxes are up 21 percent from where they were in September 2008. In the 52 months after September 2001, they were up 25 percent.

The Miami Herald’s Economic Time Machine blog seeks to put South Florida’s recovery into historical perspective. We try to take the long view on economic stats. For analysis of the latest economic news, visit and look for our weekly chart on Page 3 of Business Monday.

Read more The Economic Time Machine stories from the Miami Herald

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