Anthony came off his flight from Mississippi Thursday afternoon ready to let the good times roll.
“Nice weekends—always have fun in Miami. So we are here to have a good time,” he said while heading down the MIA concourse.
Lots of people are thinking just like him. Soaring numbers of passengers are being seen at both South Florida airports.
"This could be a record high ever. We are expecting about 150,000 passengers a day between Friday and Monday this weekend," MIA spokesman Jack Varela said.
The convention experts in Miami Dade say tourist spending is up 8% over the year before the pandemic, too.
The tourists, of course, come for the beaches, the restaurants, the food, the clubs, and the shopping. At the Candle Land shop in Wynwood, where they teach you how to craft your own, Jenn Vollmer can’t wait for the customers to look through the window and decide to step in.
“It’s always fun to get new people in,” Vollmer said. “ A lot of people are coming back every year and taking classes at all of our locations, so it's cool.”
Businesses and service workers coping with inflation and huge jumps in rent are happy to see any extra dollars.
“Well, for one thing, the big boom in the passenger traffic is all good for Miami," Varela said. "It’s all good for the economy, the hotels, tourism, the restaurants, the concessions—everything. It’s a win, win for everyone.”
But our visitors may have to wait longer than they like for a drink or a meal. Help wanted signs are up in many places, indicating service workers chose a different path in recent months. Many selected not to return to the job they had before and decided to do something else. That’s an issue restaurants and other shop owners do have to grapple with.
When it comes specifically to the airports this weekend, you should show up earlier— at least three hours before your flight at MIA. Use a ride share service because it’s going to be tough finding a parking space, and don’t block up the roads or the airport entrance waiting for that call or text to pick up a loved one.