miami carnival

Officials Expect Record-Breaking Numbers for Miami Carnival

At least 20,000 people are expected to flock to Miami for Carnival Weekend.

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As the anticipation grows, so does the number of people flocking to South Florida for Miami Carnival.

Last year, the festival was canceled due to the pandemic and officials are expecting double the amount of visitors at this year’s carnival.

Officials tell NBC 6 they are expecting at least 20,000 people and say those people are bringing in much-needed business to South Florida.

“Because it’s not all about the beads, the feathers and having a great time on the road. Miami Carnival is a huge economic impact to South Florida,” said John Beckford, who is the Marketing Director with the Miami Broward Carnival Committee.

Along with the Caribbean cultural impact, Miami Carnival brings thousands of tourists to South Florida during Columbus Day Weekend.

This means South Florida hotels and car rental companies will get plenty of business.

“Between Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, all the hotels are booked out, you can’t get a car to rent anywhere in South Florida ... There are heads in beds and all that tourism tax. From the tax, they are paid when you rent a car or you're staying at a hotel, (it) goes right back into the local economy,” explained Beckford.

The Greater Miami Convention and Tourism Bureau surveyed visitors who attended Miami Carnival in 2019. They found that 65% said they booked a hotel or motel, 53% rented a car, and 43% visit local restaurants and shops.

The cancelation, and the pandemic in general, has crippled small business owners.

“What happens is your small businesses have the opportunity to be vendors," said Vice President of Multicultural Tourism, Connie Kinnard, with GMCVB.

Local tourism officials say the festivities will bring thousands of new potential customers for small business owners.

“From an economic standpoint the dollars that are spent, help our community but more importantly help our small businesses and so that's a great piece," Kinnard explained.

Because of South Florida’s rich Caribbean culture, it’s a magnet for international visitors to come and stay for the weekend.

Beckord says “Just about every island is represented of course," at Miami Carnival.

“The fact that Miami Dade is a cultural destination. There are not many places that you can position a Caribbean Carnival other than Miami," Kinnard said.

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