On Nov. 8, the floodgates opened. Most foreign travelers, who had been prohibited from entering the United States since early 2020, are brandishing their vaccination cards, donning their masks, and filling planes for both business and leisure. Citizens of dozens of countries—including China, India, Brazil and most of Europe—have been arriving by air for weeks, with Delta, United and Virgin Atlantic airlines reporting flights that are fairly full to sold out. According to The New York Times, Nov. 10, the first day restrictions were lifted, saw 200,000 international arrivals, far short of a typical day in 2019, which would see nearly 372,000 arrivals, but still a healthy 40,000 increase over 2020 levels. “Miami International Airport, the second-busiest in the country on [Nov. 10], received more than 21,000 travelers from abroad,” reported the Times. Delta reported a 450% increase in bookings by travelers who live outside the United States in the weeks since the reopening was announced in September. Meanwhile, shared land borders with Mexico and Canada have also reopened. Cities and states that depend heavily on global business travel and winter recreation are already seeing a major impact, and that means that South Florida just took a big step toward returning to a pre-pandemic normal—particularly the real estate, tourism and international law sectors. Greater Miami is a magnet for second-home buyers and residential real estate investors who have been sitting on their hands since the pandemic began. “The ease of traveling restrictions will naturally impact the vacation rental market in a positive way, especially in South Florida during the upcoming busy season,” says Kyle Morgan, an associate at the law firm of Brinkley Morgan in Fort Lauderdale. “My clients own and operate vacation rentals all across South Florida and are expecting a very busy season. Specifically in South Florida, now that cruises and yacht charters are back up and running, many of my clients rent their vacation rentals to cruise guests and crew members.” One of the lingering effects of the pandemic is that some travelers feel safer in apartments than navigating the foot traffic and facetime inherent in hotel stays. “The market dictates that crew members prefer staying in vacation rentals as opposed to hotel units,” Morgan says.

Every month we fill the pages of SFBW with spectacular people and their stories, so I want to pause and take a moment to pay tribute to them—and to the representatives who bring them to us. The interviewees and their teams don’t appear on the masthead, yet they are true collaborators. Together our cover subjects and our other profile personalities represent what the South Florida business community is about—vitality, dynamism, drive, and yes, glamour. Take our cover woman, Ava Parker, president of Palm Beach State College (“Greener Pastures”). A Florida native, she found that each successive success was never enough: lawyer, board of trustees, board of governors, executive vice president, chief operating officer. She shares with SFBW an early mentor telling her “to stop swimming in the shallow end”—winning races that weren’t necessarily especially challenging. “ ‘You need to start swimming in the deeper end,’ ” Parker remembers being told, “ ‘because you have the ability to do more.’ That’s probably some of the most interesting advice I was given, to do things that weren’t necessarily in my sweet spot.” A force in state education, Parker is clearly a force of nature, and when she came to our interview and photoshoot, looking chic and like a boss, she proved she knew the assignment. (Cover photographer Nick Garcia was a happy guy that day.) Parker has spent her career knowing the assignment, so it’s appropriate that today she imparts the assignment to the 49,000 students who attend Palm Beach State College annually.