Dermer Leads Miami Beach Trade Delegaton To Beijing
By Eric Kalis
Representatives of the civic, tourism and business sectors of Miami Beach are in Beijing this week to strengthen the city’s blossoming relationship with Chinese officials.
Miami Beach Mayor David Dermer and Vice Mayor Jerry Libbin took a delegation of 26 local leaders to Beijing this week to explore business, cultural and tourism opportunities with members of the Beijing District Government. In turn, the city will host the same number of Chinese delegates Nov. 18-23 to become further acquainted with Miami Beach and participate in seminars about doing business and investing in China and the 2008 Olympic Games, to be held in Beijing.
The reciprocal relationship had been in the planning stages for months, said Michael Aller, chief of protocol for Miami Beach. Mr. Libbin met with Beijing officials during a personal vacation to China earlier this year and initiated the arrangement.
The trip to Beijing was funded through private entrepreneurship, Mr. Aller said. A subcommittee of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce raised money so president Wendy Kallergis could join the group, he said, and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau paid for director of cultural tourism George Neary to attend. Dancers from Miami Light Project were able to travel with the group through their own fundraising campaign. The dancers are expected to perform in Beijing, Mr. Aller said.
While in China, the group is expected to visit Olympic Park, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall.
The exchange presents an opportunity to entice Beijing residents to consider Miami Beach a worthwhile destination when visiting the United States, Mr. Libbin said.
"My vision is that by creating cultural exchange and business cooperation programs, we will make travel and doing business in the corresponding city more desirable, thus fulfilling two of the most important business missions we have, that of creating additional tourism, as well as new business involvement in our cities," he said. "Some estimates point to an influx of as many as 100 million Chinese travelers coming to the US annually by 2020. We intend for Miami Beach to capture a significant share of those tourists."