FYI Miami: January 16, 2014
UNDER COVER: A Miami-Dade committee is asking the full county commission to call for study results within 90 days on a plan to bring a new secret shopper program to county government. The program would monitor how the county provides direct services to the public. In recommending that the program be created or reinstated, since the system once existed, said Commissioner Barbara Jordan the Economic Development & Port Miami committee said it aimed to not just target bad service. “I hope that if we do a secret shopper program that we also use it to highlight the great employees so it’s not just about the negatives, it’s also about the positives” said Lynda Bell in supporting the measure, which passed 4-0.
ON BAR’S LADDER: Ramon A. Abadin has been selected as The Florida Bar’s president-elect designate, putting him in position to become Bar president in June 2015. He is a partner in Sedgwick LLP’s Miami office.
FORGET BRAZIL, MIAMI FOR THE WORLD CUP?: Capitalizing on Miami’s position as US gateway to Brazil, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau is hoping to position Miami as not just a layover but as a potential alternative to Brazil for the World Cup this summer. “We are developing strategies to communicate to customers [that] it’s a perfect place to enjoy a pre- and post-World Cup experience,” said Rolando Aedo, bureau senior vice president of marketing and tourism. “A two-nation vacation, or a layover-stay over.” With airline and the corresponding hotel service prices hitting the stratosphere in Brazil this summer, the bureau’s position is that “football” fans could theoretically stay in Miami and get a World Cup experience at a much lower cost. One definite draw to the two-nation vacation? Miami, Mr. Aedo said, boasts 10 direct flights to Brazil.
TOURISM TAKE: As tourism in Miami-Dade increases, so do collections of three taxes that it generates and those collections are increasing handsomely. The 2% Tourism Development Tax, collected everywhere in the county except Miami Beach. Bal Harbour and Surfside, generated 17.7% more revenue in November than in November 2012, according to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. Total collections in November topped $1.9 million. The far larger collection from the 3% Convention Development Tax rose 14.4% in the period to top $5 million. The 2% Hotel Food & Beverage Tax collections from hotels everywhere but Miami Beach, Bal Harbour and Surfside rose 9.3% to surpass $600,000.