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Business Travel Slow Down During Pandemic Continues To Affect South Florida's Economy

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Though commercial flying in South Florida has picked up in recent months, the same can't be said for business travel.

In fact, business travel has been slow to recover in the pandemic and it has affected South Florida's economy.

"We have not seen a substantial, sustained return of the road warrior," said Scott Berman, principal and industry leader, Hospitality & Leisure Group PwC.

Travel associations report about $300 billion out of $800 billion spent on travel comes from business travelers.

What does that mean for South Florida, where beach hotels report an uptick in bookings?

"The hotels and resorts that have water view are in great shape, but when I think about those that are west of Miami Beach, west of Biscayne Bay and the Intercoastal, they are still under challenge because those hotels rely on the business travelers," Berman says

With empty offices and business being conducted by Zoom calls, more than a few companies are wondering if business travel and convention attendance will ever return to pre-pandemic numbers.

"The second half of this year will be telling and will be better," said Berman. "It is going to be a gradual recovery of business demand and it is going to take time."

Once business travel picks up, it is expected to positively impact area restaurants, rental car agencies, Uber operators, taxi drivers, and service workers.

"We can't talk about the return without the importance of groups and conventions," adds Berman.

All part of the business travel mix that brings major dollars to South Florida locations.

"The stakeholders are actually selling the destination to make sure we are getting our share of that very important piece of the travel sector."

For the time being, leisure travelers will continue to fill up those first-class and business class seats on the airlines.

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