FYI Miami: December 19, 2013
SIX MORE YEARS IN CHINA: Florida International University has settled into an agreement with China’s Ministry of Education for another six-year cycle of its highly successful Hospitality & Tourism Management program in Tianjin, said Randall Upchurch, associate dean of academics at FIU’s Chaplin School. This extension will extend the program from 2014 to 2020, further strengthening the bond between FIU and the Tianjin University of Commerce. “The benefit comes in two levels to the FIU brand, with multi-national brands like Marriott and the Starwood taking on [Chinese] students not only as interns but as full-time employees, and when students come from [Tianjin] to our graduate program,” Mr. Upchurch said. The program has been consistently full, admitting close to the 300-student cap a year. Since the program launched in 2007, the international bond created with the Tianjin University of Commerce has grown. Last year, Mr. Upchurch said, about three to four students came for graduation at FIU’s own commencement.
AMBASSADORS IN THE MAKING: A new four-year trade and cultural ambassador post for Miami-Dade County was created Tuesday with the express goal of naming entertainment icon Gloria and Emilio Estefan jointly to the post as the first ambassadors. The job is unpaid and expenses won’t be reimbursed. If the Estefans formally accept, the post begins Jan. 1. Ambassadors are asked to attend and observe meetings, events and social functions, promote Miami-Dade and report to the county commission upon request. County commissioners voted 13-0 to create the job.
TOURISM PAYBACK: Revenue from tourism-related taxes rose this year, with the county collecting more from its 3% convention development tariff, 2% hotel food and beverage tax and the 2% tourist development tax than it did in 2012. The convention development tax generated 9.3% more between January and October than it did during the same period last year. And collections from the tourist development tax also rose, increasing 8.9%. The hotel food and beverage tax, too, generated more revenue. Collections from hotels in Miami-Dade, excluding Miami Beach, Bal Harbour and Surfside, increased 6.3% compared to the same time in 2012, according to information from the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. In Miami Beach, room tax revenue increased 11.6%, while food and beverage tax collections rose 7%.