Now that Canadians can say sayonara to pre arrival testing to get back into the country, they’re more eager than ever to travel again. One of the destinations eager to welcome back more visitors is Greater Fort Lauderdale, where Canada is its largest international market.
To find out more about what’s new for travel advisors, what sets the destination apart and why Canadians should visit, Travel Courier sat down with with Stacy Ritter, president & CEO of Visit Lauderdale.
Greater Fort Lauderdale has 24 miles of beach spread throughout eight distinct beach communities, the Everglades for only-in-South Florida outdoor adventures, great dining and lodging in every price range, and an inclusive community that welcomes everyone under the sun. It’s easy to see why the area is a long-time favourite for Canadian visitors.
We have just launched our new Lauderdale Loyalist program for travel advisors, an interactive learning program that helps them throughout the planning, sales and booking process. More and more travellers are using skilled travel advisors to help them, especially in light of the possibility for changes in travel rules or restrictions. Advisors can get started on becoming a Lauderdale Loyalist at lauderdaleloyalist.com.
Cruising is making a big comeback thanks in large part to the cruise lines’ effort to implement and maintain new health and safety standards, and the many avid cruise fans eager to get back on board. We are working with Port Everglades to spotlight the exciting new cruise offerings coming in the next few years, including Disney Cruise Line and The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.
Our Lauderdale Loyalist program helps advisors make solid recommendations to cruisers for ways to enjoy their pre- and post-cruise time in Greater Fort Lauderdale. We hope this will help to increase the number of days cruisers will stay overnight in the destination.
Is there anything you think is important to share with travel advisors?
Our destination slogan Everyone Under the Sun says a lot about our destination. We are a progressive, highly inclusive community and that makes us a naturally welcoming place for all travellers. Our warm waters and sunny days provide endless outdoors and on-the-water activity options, and our dining and shopping options can’t be beat.
We had 10 new hotels open in 2021 and will have a total of at least seven more by the end of 2022. The new Four Seasons Hotel and Residences Fort Lauderdale now brings a new level of luxury to the beach, and we have many hotels across the Greater Fort Lauderdale area at budget and moderate price levels to provide plenty of lodging options. New low-cost air service is now available to FLL on Flair Airlines from Ottawa and Toronto with service to Kitchener-Waterloo and Montreal soon to follow.
Canada is our number one international market. Our global trade team does sales missions to key Canadian markets and we of course meet with trade representatives at U.S. Travel IPW and other industry shows and events.
We are known as both the “Yachting Capital of the World” and the “Venice of America,” with over 300 miles of navigable inland waterways. There are wonderful options for sightseeing boat tours and one of the best ways to get around is on the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi.
I love spending time at the beach, it’s how I relax and recharge from busy workdays. Our restaurant scene is excellent. We have some wonderful, newer restaurants with passionate chef-owners bringing outstanding cuisine. Personally, I favour Italian, but you can find fantastic options for anything you might crave including Latin, Asian, American, Jamaican, Peruvian and more.