Despite worries about a lagging economy in Brazil and a less favorable currency exchange, more Brazilians visited Miami in 2015 than tourists from any other country. In fact, through the first nine months of 2015, Brazilian tourism is actually up 3 percent compared to the same time last year. The data comes from the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau via Miami Today.
Overall, 5,662,700 foreign visitors have come to Miami so far during 2015. That's up 4 percent from 5,447,006 in 2014.
In fact, tourism is up from almost all countries in the top ten except for the glaring exception of Venezuela. Thanks to a worsening economy and political instability, tourism from Venezuela has dropped a whopping 10 percent.
Here are the top ten markets in 2015 so far:
- Brazil: 582,416 visitors (up 3 percent)
- Canada: 521,857 visitors (up 1.7 percent)
- Colombia: 402,982 visitors (up 5 percent)
- Argentina: 338,084 visitors (up 1.2 percent)
- Germany: 295,990 visitors (up 6 percent)
- England: 245,555 visitors (up 5 percent)
- Venezuela: 236,747 visitors (down 10 percent)
- Bahamas: 195,082 visitors (up 5.5 percent)
- Costa Rica: 163,416 visitors (up 6.2 percent)
- France: 159,011 visitors (up 1.5 percent)
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Though Americans still make up the single largest source of tourists in Miami (in fact, visitors from New York City alone accounted for 1.9 million trips in 2014), the Magic City's tourism economy is uniquely dependent on foreign visitors.
In 2014, 49.9 percent of visitors to Miami were foreigners, compared to 50.1 percent who were domestic visitors. When foreigners visit Miami, they also tend to spend a lot more. Seventy percent of tourist spending that year could be attributed to foreigners.
The fact that tourism from Brazil continues to grow is particularly important. Brazilians may not be snapping up downtown condo units at the rate they once were, but they still continue to visit and spend in record numbers despite less favorable economic conditions in Brazil.
The 3 percent rise in Brazilian tourism follows a 3 percent drop in 2014. According to Miami Today, the visitors bureau blamed that drop on the World Cup being held in Brazil. The bureau will aggressively market Miami in 2016 to avoid a similar drop when Brazil hosts the Olympics in 2016.