Posts tagged with "tourism industry"

ESJ Capital Jungle Island image by Melinda Sherwood at Kreps PR & Marketing for use by 360 Magazine

MIAMI’S ECO-ADVENTURE PARK AND RESORT

ESJ CAPITAL PARTNERS TO DEVELOP SOUTH FLORIDA’S FIRST-EVER TRUE ECO-ADVENTURE PARK AND RESORT IN MIAMI

Opening in 2022, the $300 million re-imagined “Jungle Island” will feature a thrilling aerial adventure course with zip lines, up-close animal encounters, water attractions, one-of-a-kind entertainment and nightlife, and a new hotel, just minutes from downtown Miami and Miami Beach.

ESJ Capital Partners (hereinafter: ‘ESJ”), an Aventura, Florida-based commercial real estate firm and a registered Investment Advisor, has secured the final approvals necessary to move forward with developing a one-of-a-kind eco-adventure destination and hotel on 18.5 acres of prime waterfront in Miami.

The $300 million project is an ambitious re-imagining of the historic “Jungle Island,” a zoological theme park and botanical gardens built in 1936 that once boasted the largest and rarest collection of exotic animals and birds. It is located on Watson Island, roughly five minutes from both downtown Miami and the world-renowned South Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach, surrounded by the crystal blue waters of Biscayne Bay.

Inspired by some of the world’s most successful eco-adventure destinations and conceived by a team of the top hospitality/nature attraction experts, ESJ’s master-plan for redevelopment of the park caters to the 21st-century guest, while still preserving historic elements that has made the Jungle Island experience a favorite landmark for nearly a century – including an unparalleled collection of over 50 parrot species in its multi-story aviary.

Set to re-open in mid-2022 as “Jungle Island: Miami’s Adventure Oasis,” the redesigned park will include the only aerial adventure course in South Florida featuring zip lines, ropes courses, bridges, and climbing nets suspended up to 60-feet in the treetops; a 19,000-square-foot trampoline park; interactive and hands-on animal nature tours that allow guests to get up-close and personal with over 100 species of wild animals, such as swimming with capybaras; a 1,200-seat outdoor amphitheater with new and unique, family- friendly entertainment featuring aerialists and acrobats; elevated dining and nightlife experiences; a Mediterranean-style beach club and cocktail lounge on Miami’s only private beach; and several water features including a new 900-foot “lazy river”  that meanders through the park’s lush green and animal habitats.

A key component of the park will be a new 300-key, family-friendly eco-resort, scheduled to open in late 2024 or early 2025.

Based on market research, ESJ expects to draw more than 500,000 guests during its first year of operation, comprising a 50-50 mix of both local/domestic visitors and out-of-market travelers.

“Florida is finally getting its first true eco-adventure park, where nature and wildlife provide inspiration for guests to explore, play, challenge themselves physically, or simply relax,” said Arnaud Sitbon, CEO of ESJ. “Best of all, it’s going to be in a city that is one of the world’s top-rated travel destinations, just minutes from Miami’s top-rated beaches and attractions. It’s a privilege to have the honor of breathing new life into this much-beloved landmark, and our hope is that it will spark appreciation and respect for nature and our planet’s precious wildlife.”

“A nature-oriented destination of this magnitude in the heart of Miami’s urban core is truly remarkable,” said Micha Dubernard, Senior Vice President of ESJ Capital Partners. “In addition to providing a unique attraction that enhances Miami’s reputation for tourism and culture, Jungle Island’s lush habitat will also serve an important ecological role by helping absorb some of the city’s carbon emissions and serving as a natural preserve for Florida’s wading birds and other wildlife.”

According to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), there is substantial demand for this type of venue.  “We are extremely pleased to add such a compelling attraction to our community,” said William D. Talbert III, President & CEO of the GMCVB.  “We look forward to continue working with the Jungle Island team.”

In 2019, Greater Miami attracted a record-breaking 16.3 million overnight visitors and an additional 7.9 million day tripper, for a record number of 24.2 million total visitors with a total economic impact close to $18 billion, according to the GMCVB. Industry experts expect Miami’s hospitality and tourism industry to recover steadily over the next year, in conjunction with COVID-19 vaccine roll outs.

In addition to the adventure park and nature attractions, Jungle Island will also feature a strong corporate appeal, with more than 10 indoor and outdoor meeting and event spaces, catering to small or large groups, and ranging from small celebrations to 1000+-person gatherings.

ESJ acquired Jungle Island in April 2017, which involved the transfer of the existing land lease on the City of Miami-owned Watson Island to ESJ.  In August 2018, Miami voters approved a city charter amendment to waive competitive bidding and allow ESJ to modify Jungle Island’s lease and allow the construction of a 300-room hotel. In February 2021, the City of Miami provided final approval on a long-awaited land-use ordinance change and special area plan, both necessary to redevelop the 18-acre property with a hotel and additional recreation amenities. ESJ plans to begin construction on the new adventure park this summer, and will break ground on the new $100+ million hotel in 2022, pending a final building permit.

To lead Jungle Island’s transformation, ESJ has pulled in some of the world’s leading hospitality, attraction, entertainment and construction experts. These include IDEAS Brand & Experience Design, led by 25-year Disney executive Bob Allen; HKS Architects, an interdisciplinary global design firm which recently completed Royal Caribbean’s $250 million redevelopment of CocoCay Island; EoAan award-winning design firm; Gardiner & Theobald, an independent construction and property consultancy noted for its development of Miami’s acclaimed Faena District and the $4 billion Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas, the largest resort development in the Western Hemisphere; and several additional specialists in the field of animal entertainment and education.

For more information about Jungle Island updates, bookings and hours of operations please visit Jungle Island’s website.

About ESJ Capital Partners

ESJ Capital Partners, founded in 2008, is a diversified, institutional vertically integrated, real estate investment firm. ESJ utilizes its breadth of experience and expertise to invest in attractive opportunities throughout the United States. For more information, please visit this website.

About Jungle Island

A favorite South Florida landmark since 1936, Jungle Island is located across from the cruise ports, between Downtown Miami and South Beach. Miami’s premier eco-adventure park proudly takes guests on an epic journey through adventure, nature and play. From thrilling attractions, behind-the-scenes VIP tours, elevated dining experiences at a waterfront restaurant & lounge to unforgettable interactions with some of the world’s most fascinating animals, Jungle Island offers guests a variety of real-life jungle adventures. For regular updates, follow Jungle Island on social media and visit their website.

Traveling illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

11 Travel Safety Tips

By: Doug Parisi, Director of Training

With many starting to travel again, there are new safety precautions people should take given COVID.

Here are 11 tips to ensure your long-awaited travel plans aren’t interrupted.

  1. COVID Enforcement Isn’t Your Responsibility

If you find someone not following the mask rules, inform someone who is in charge. Don’t risk being detained or removed due to an altercation with a stranger.

  1. Don’t Rely On Technology For Your Itinerary

We are dependent on our smart phones for almost everything. Low batteries, lost phones or no signal can disrupt your plans. Before you leave home, print your dates, times, confirmation numbers, locations, and contact information for all your travel. Rental cars, airlines, hotels, and tourist attractions can help you recover lost information.  Share this information with friends and family.

  1. Don’t Risk Your Safety For The Perfect Photo

Selfies have resulted in unnecessary injuries.

  1. Don’t Make Your Vacation Public Until You Return Home

Posting on social media announcing a trip informs people your home is vulnerable, since no one is around.

  1. Let Your Financial Institution Know You Are Traveling

Monitoring charges on credit cards is common today. If your credit card company/financial institution doesn’t know you are traveling, it could result in extra scrutiny on your account due to out of state charges. If your financial institution can’t contact you about out of state charges, it might result in charges being declined while you’re away.

  1. Back Pockets Are Horrible Place For Valuables

Wallets, passports and valuables should be kept in secure spots, such as cargo or in front pockets. Minimize your wallet or have an alternate wallet just for travel.

  1. Travel With A First Aid Kit

A small one for air travel or a larger one for road trips.  Don’t rely on emergency services in the short term.  Secure wraps, tourniquets, bandages, and hemostatic agents, which can all save lives. This is a must for any cross-country travel.

  1. Be Aware of State Laws

If you are driving through a state, make sure you know the state laws for securing your weapon or speaking to an officer if you are stopped. Violations can be met with fines, confiscation of the weapon or even arrest.

  1. Have Cash On Hand For Emergencies

Don’t use unfamiliar ATMs. Many travelers have been scammed by recording devices or card readers.  When possible, use credit cards to minimize the amount of cash on your person.

  1. Secure Your Items In The Hotel Room Safe

Too many people hide belongings in suitcases. This is a known practice that is easily thwarted.  Instead, secure your treasured items in the hotel room safe to be extra safe.

  1. Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

Situational awareness is critical when traveling.  Be aware of cars or people who may be following you. Trust your instincts when you start to feel unsafe.

travel illustration by Gabrielle Marchan for use by 360 Magazine

Tourism Trends in 2021

What’s Ahead for Travel and Tourism? 5 Trends to Look For in 2021 and Beyond

By: Stefan Read, SVP Engagement Advisory and Strategy Practice Lead at Jackman

As vaccines continue to roll out and people begin to see a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, many consumers are starting to think of travel. A recent survey by CivicScience found that as of March 2021, nearly 6 in 10 US adults say they’d be willing to travel in the next five months. This is very promising, but much has changed in the past year and several aspects of consumer behavior have been permanently altered. In order to succeed in the new post-Covid world, travel and hospitality brands must understand the new and emerging trends impacting this industry. Below are the top trends and customer behaviors that we will see in 2021 and beyond as travel begins to ramp up again.

  1. Cleanliness: Unsurprisingly, travelers now say that cleanliness is their top priority when selecting hotels and flights. In November 2020, Booking declared that short-term or holiday rentals have to meet a minimum cleanliness standard by May 2021, or have their properties delisted. Airbnb and VRBO created new cleaning procedures for hosts to follow in the pandemic. Even after the pandemic ends, cleanliness will remain top of mind for travelers as the anxiety around COVID and other illnesses have now become part of our new reality. Travel and hospitality brands can do their part by communicating detailed and specific information with travelers about the cleaning procedures they have in place, and making sure the procedures can be clearly observed by guests. Hotels and property hosts should also adjust their change and refund policies to allow guests to cancel at the last minute in case of a future outbreak. Brands that prioritize the health and well-being of guests over profits will win when it comes to customer loyalty and safety.
  2. Wellness Tourism: Cleanliness goes hand in hand with wellness, and wellness tourism will keep growing over the next couple of years as people continue to seek out travel for the purpose of promoting health and well-being through physical, psychological, or spiritual activities. According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness tourism will be worth $919 billion by 2022, representing 18 percent of all tourism globally. Brands should start to think about what services or experiences they can create or enhance that will attract these wellness travelers, such as transforming outdoor spaces to become open air yoga studios or hiring meditation or massage experts available for guests to utilize during their stay.
  3. Staying Close to Home: It’s no surprise that during the pandemic traveler preferences shifted toward the familiar. Backpacking through Europe was no longer feasible, so travelers instead opted for domestic destinations and were more thorough in their planning. A recent AirBnB survey revealed that 56 percent of consumers prefer a domestic or local destination and one in five Americans say they want their destination to be within driving distance of home. As a result, road trips will boom – in fact, 59 percent of families say they’re more likely to drive than fly on their next trip. Smaller hotels can compete with the big hotel chains by highlighting the local aspect of their experience and engaging meaningfully with the community they’re in. They might also consider banding together to help people plan fun road trips along specific routes. Travel and hospitality brands can help take some of the anxiety off of travelers by playing a more active role in the planning aspect of the guests’ travel.
  1. Traveling to Connect: The door is open for brands to play a more meaningful role in the travel plans for customers as Airbnb anticipates 2021 being the year of “meaningful travel.” It’s not the act of getting on a plane, standing in long line ups, and visiting crowded tourist attractions that people miss about travel. Rather, it’s the element of social connection – reuniting with old friends, spending time with family, and experiencing something new with loved ones. For a significant percentage of AirBnB survey respondents, their definition of meaningful travel has changed since the pandemic to become even more focused on being with loved ones. These people also say they intend to travel more after the pandemic, with nearly one in two (46%) saying they will travel more for pleasure, such as by going on vacation and to visit family. Brands should consider helping with family reunion planning and continue to be mindful of ways to bring families together while still maintaining a clean and safe environment.
  2. Eco-Tourism: Defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people and involves education,” eco-tourism is on the rise. Consumers are taking on the role of “concerned citizens” demanding responsible travel policies, and we’re seeing a shift in behavior and sentiment toward appreciating the earth and what it has to offer. Moving forward, people will be thinking more mindfully about the way they travel, why they travel, and where they go. Rather than trying to fit as many destinations as possible into one trip, many consumers will opt for longer stays, choosing to get to know the local communities, cultures, cuisines, and landscapes.

The world of travel and tourism has been forever altered by the pandemic and lockdowns. With some valuable insights into how customer behaviors and desires have changed, travel and hospitality brands can find new, creative ways to appeal to travelers. The five trends listed above are a great place to start when looking to understand the ways these industries will continue to change moving into 2021 and beyond.

travel illustration by Gabrielle Marchan for 360 Magazine

Beijing’s Tourism Revenue Drop

Beijing’s Tourism Revenue Dropped by 53% in 2020 – Loss of Over ¥330B 

The tourism industry was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the city of Beijing saw the momentum of the industry halted in 2020. Beijing had become an increasingly popular tourist destination prior to the pandemic with revenue from inbound tourism recorded at $5.16B in 2019. According to data presented by TradingPlatforms, Beijing’s total revenue from tourism decreased by over 53% in 2020 for a staggering loss of ¥330B, or $50B.

Beijing Revenue From Tourism Dropped By Over $50B After Years Of Growth

China has long moved on from its isolationist policies and has encouraged the mainland as a travel destination for tourists. Revenue from China’s tourism sector grew at a strong 13.8% CAGR from 2010-2019 to ¥5.7T, or almost $880B. In 2019, China was the fourth most visited country by foreign tourists with 65.7M arrivals for the year.

Beijing is one of the leading tourist destinations in China, and the city has been enjoying the growth of the tourism sector until the pandemic of 2020 hit. From 2016-2019, Beijing’s tourism revenue experienced a 5.53% CAGR, rising to a value of ¥622.7B in 2019. However, COVID-19 shut borders around the world, crippling global mobility and disrupting the momentum built up by Beijing’s tourism industry. Beijing’s revenue from tourism dropped over 53% in 2020 to just over ¥291.

Beijing suffered a staggering loss in revenue, specifically in inbound tourism, where revenue dropped from $5.16B in 2019 to just $480M in 2020.

COVID-19 Hit China Early – Caused Massive Disruption in H1 of 2020

China felt the effects of COVID-19 before much of the rest of the world did. A clear example of this is in the drop in weekly Airbnb bookings from the period between January 5th to March 7th. This drop occurred when the coronavirus was just becoming news to the rest of the world of what was happening in various parts of China. Beijing experienced a dizzying 96% drop in weekly Airbnb bookings compared to just 46% in Seoul and 29% in Tokyo in this time period.

The number of domestic tourists is estimated to have dropped by as much as 62% in the first half of 2020 compared to the year prior, with revenues dropping by as much as 77%. By the end of the year, China had experienced a 43% drop in domestic tourists and a 52% drop in revenue from domestic tourism.

Tourism in China Projected To Completely Recover Within 5 Years

In 2019, the absolute economic contribution of tourism in China was estimated at $1.67T. This fell sharply to just $745.5B in 2020-a decrease of more than 55%, but still the largest in Asia and the second-largest overall, after the USA. However, projections have the figure bouncing back up by over 40.5% in 2021 to $1.04T. The figure is projected to surpass pre-pandemic levels for the first time in 2023, when the absolute economic contribution of tourism is projected to be at $1.75T.

Despite the turmoil of 2020, China’s absolute economic contribution from tourism is projected to have an impressive CAGR of 20.75% from 2021-2025, reaching more than $2.67T by the end of the forecast period.

You can read more about the story with more statistics and information on TradingPlatforms’ website.