Cruise visitor center may open at airport
The county may create a cruise visitor center at Miami International Airport, which officials say could add tourism by efficiently processing cruise passengers and luggage directly to PortMiami.
The county’s Trade and Tourism Committee is to vote today (8/27) to direct the mayor to have the seaport and aviation departments join with cruise lines to develop a plan for the center for either individual or multiple cruise lines.
The team would pinpoint airport space; costs of a center that processes cruise passengers who arrive at the airport to sail from PortMiami; potential funding sources; interested cruise lines; a timeline to begin operations; and other participants such as the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association.
Resolution sponsor Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz said he’s long been talking with Port Director Juan Kuryla about the importance of a cruise visitor center at the airport.
“People want convenience, and any time you can provide that for them, it’s a positive situation,” Mr. Diaz told Miami Today this week. “Water always finds the easiest flow.”
The airport and seaport are the county’s top economic engines. The resolution says PortMiami welcomed nearly 4.8 million cruise passengers in fiscal 2014 and continues to expand as the world’s leading cruise port.
The resolution notes that most PortMiami passengers who arrive by air land at Miami International. Several cruise lines already lease airport space to process passengers and others have expressed interest in doing so.
Should the resolution pass the committee and the full commission Oct. 6, the mayor will be asked to report a plan within 60 days, including reasons if it’s deemed unfeasible.