October 6, 2022

Business Florida 2022 - The Regions


Broward • Indian River • Martin • Miami-Dade • Monroe • Palm Beach • St. Lucie

| 11/8/2021

Tourism & Hospitality

Not surprisingly, Greater Miami’s tourism industry registered a pretty big dip in 2020 — attracting just 7.9 million overnight visitors and 3.7 million day trippers compared to 16.3 million and 7.9 million in the same categories a year ago. Despite a strong start in the first two months of the year thanks, in part, to Super Bowl LIV in Miami, when all was said and done, total visitors were down 52%, generating a total economic impact in 2020 of $7.9 billion.

Visitor volumes ebbed and flowed throughout the year, starting with a strong January/February followed by a complete shutdown in March, April and May, to be followed by an uneven recovery throughout the rest of year. When travel and tourism might return to pre-pandemic levels is difficult to predict. Many in the industry are calling 2021 a recovery year, but travel isn’t expected to fully recover before 2022 or even 2023.

Hotels were also hit hard during the pandemic. At Miami Worldcenter, the 27-acre, $5-billion mixed-use project underway in downtown Miami, developer Royal Palm Cos. is thinking ahead and taking a different road to completion. RPC now plans to make its Legacy Hotel & Residences pandemic-resistant, with voice-activated elevators, touch-less room key access and autonomous disinfection robots to sanitize common areas. The 50-story tower will have 256 hotel rooms, 274 condo units and a 100,000-sq.-ft. medical center on the ground floor. And the center’s medical-grade air purification system and anti-microbial surfaces will be expanded throughout the building.



Nineteen Southeast Florida high schools were named among the top 300 nationwide in U.S. News & World Report’s “2021 Best U.S. High Schools” rankings. One of them — School for Advanced Studies in Miami – was ranked fifth best high school in the nation. And in St. Lucie County, the Economic Development Council, St. Lucie County Public Schools and the Treasure Coast Manufacturers Association are partnering to pair high school graduates with local manufacturing job opportunities. Now in its second year, 44 students have completed the program, and within 60 days, 65% of these participants joined local companies, including Maverick Boat Group, Expert Shutter Services and Phoenix Metal Products.

This region is also home to 16 institutions of higher education, including Florida International University, which began offering a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in fall 2020 and has since launched Cyber-CAP, a one-year apprenticeship program combining technical skills, industry credentials and on-the-job training with an employer to prepare learners for work in the fast-growing field of cybersecurity. In FY2020, FIU garnered $310 million in research awards and with 60 patents is ranked No. 42 among the world’s top 100 universities granted U.S. utility patents in 2020.

Also located in this region: Two state colleges — Miami Dade and Indian River — which shared the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence; Broward College, a “finalist with distinction” for that same prize in 2021; and The College of the Florida Keys, formerly known as Florida Keys Community College, offering bachelor’s degrees in nursing, hospitality and marine resource management and conservation and associates degree programs. Miami Dade College recently began partnering with the University of West Florida to expand cybersecurity workforce development in Florida.


Life Sciences / Health Care

Florida’s Southeast has reason to be proud of its health care facilities, starting with the University of Miami Hospital and Clinics. For the 18th consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals 2021-22” ranked UM’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute No. 1 in the nation for ophthalmology. UM also earned high marks in neurology and neurosurgery (No. 35) and in ear, nose and throat (No. 44). Elsewhere in the region, Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston was recognized for gastroenterology and GI surgery (No. 33), and Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach was singled out for geriatrics (No. 45).

Pediatric facilities received notice too. On U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals 2021-22,” Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami took honors in five pediatric specialties: neurology and neurosurgery (No. 24); pulmonology & lung surgery (No. 36); orthopedics (No. 40); cardiology & heart surgery (No. 46); and diabetes & endocrinology (No. 49). Also recognized: Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital at Memorial Regional Hospital, Hollywood, for orthopedics (No. 32) and cardiology & heart surgery (No. 49); and Holtz Children’s Hospital at UM-Jackson Memorial Medical Center in Miami for diabetes & endocrinology (No. 47).

In other news across this sector:

• Baptist Health South Florida, the region’s largest health system, has launched a $100-million “total digital transformation” aimed at revolutionizing how patients seek and receive health care across its facilities.

• Baptist Health’s new Fishermen’s Community Hospital celebrated its “official grand opening” in Marathon in July 2021. Designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, the 37,300-sq.-ft. structure replaces the previous Fishermen’s Hospital, which was leveled by Hurricane Irma in 2017.

• Cleveland Clinic Florida has opened the Florida Research and Innovation Center in Port St. Lucie. Focusing on the prevention of infectious diseases, the new 107,000-sq.-ft. facility will be closely aligned with Cleveland Clinic’s Ohio-based Center for Global and Emerging Pathogens Research established in April 2020 to broaden understanding of emergent pathogens.

• Florida International University has launched a program to train nurses to perform forensic exams of sexual assault survivors in rural areas. The program — a partnership between the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences and the Global Forensic and Justice Center at FIU — teaches nurses how to collect DNA evidence, tend to patients’ physical and emotional needs and become expert witnesses in civil and criminal trials.


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