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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America Recovers: Tourism Picking Up Again

Aired October 3, 2001 - 06:36   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Many Americans have been afraid to fly after the terrorist attacks, and because of that, tourism has taken a big hit. But while business is much slower than it was before September 11, there are signs that a recovery has begun.

CNN Miami bureau chief John Zarrella now with the latest from one popular travel spot.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The weather is early fall delightful. The white sand on Miami Beach's ultra-trendy South Beach is for the first time in months not too hot to walk barefoot.

There's just one problem: There aren't very many tourists here to enjoy it.

JUDITH BERSON, EDISON HOTEL OWNER: We're now up to 50 percent occupancy, still not what it would be, but it's better than being empty, and the maids can still work and the front desk can still work.

ZARRELLA: For the first time in three weeks, Judith Berson says there are signs of a pulse in South Beach's tourism industry, and it's not just here.

A AAA survey in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee finds that people are beginning to travel again. Ticket sales at attractions and theme parks are returning to pre September 11 levels. Hotel occupancy rates are also slowly climbing, while room rates are still declining. At the Edison, a $139 room is today 49 bucks.

MAYOR NEISEN KASDIN, MIAMI BEACH: There have been estimates that county-wide the impact on tourism is $15 million a day. Miami Beach represents the lion's share of the tourism market in this county. So the loss has been tremendous.

ZARRELLA: Ask the cabbies. They staged a protest Tuesday hoping to get costly permit fees eliminated. With fewer people flying, they're going broke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE CAB DRIVER: If I make like $20 something a day, but I've got to eat, I've got to put in gas. ZARRELLA: The AAA survey found that instead of flying, based on an increased number of requests for trip routing maps, it appears more people are driving. In Florida, where tourism is the No. 1 industry, the governor...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Action, governor.

ZARRELLA: ... is getting out in front of the camera cutting spots for a new tourism promotion campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be sure to wear sun block, OK?

ZARRELLA: Back on South Beach, the Stars and Stripes flies proudly in the stiff breeze. It's a beautiful October day, but too quiet.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami Beach.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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