As Miami-Dade continues to grow by leaps and bounds year after year and our economy becomes more diverse, it is easy to forget that tourism remains this area’s bread-and-butter industry. While we may not be as dependent on the snowbirds as we once were, tourism is our biggest money maker and creates more jobs than any other single business entity in the county.
That’s why it is so important for all of us who live in this beautiful area to take heed of remarks by Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) president/CEO William Talbert when he rolled out changes in the Bureau’s Miami Begins with Me customer service training program, which has trained more than 50,000 employees of major community businesses and organizations since it began in 2009, including staffs at Miami International Airport (MIA) and PortMiami, and Miami-Dade taxi drivers.
“As the number one economic driver and top employer in Miami-Dade County, the tourism industry is everybody’s business in Miami and The Beaches,” said Talbert. “It is more important than ever to invest in the education and training of our customer service providers. Leisure and business travelers deserve and expect outstanding service from the minute they arrive at our airport, check into our hotels and hail our cabs.”
And Talbert is absolutely right. We all know the importance of tourism to our local economy and it is critical to the success of the program that all of us strive to make our visitors welcome and insure that they have a positive experience in our community. When they do, they will return to a place where they enjoyed themselves and where they were treated well. Look at it this way, tourism dollars help keep our taxes low and our local economy strong. It’s as simple as that.
We all have an interest in keeping visitors to South Florida happy; but remember, it’s the little things that make a difference. A warm smile to someone you pass on the street, friendly directions to the nearest coffee shop or ATM, a tip about a restaurant with fresh, tasty seafood and water views, thank them for visiting — these are the things that make visitors feel that we care about them.
This is where you can get involved with the Miami Begins with Me initiative, because Miami really does begin with you, and with all of us. We are the ones who have the good fortune to live in this year-round paradise. We get to enjoy the beautiful beaches, the Everglades, the Florida Keys, the energy and excitement of South Beach, and all of the wonderful things that Miami’s many unique neighborhoods have to offer. And we can do that whenever we want, not just on a two-week vacation.
So get involved with the Miami Begins with Me program. It only takes a moment to be friendly to a visitor, and you will be rewarding yourself and helping your community. The program provides information on destination highlights so locals can become more knowledgeable about all that Greater Miami and the Beaches has to offer. The course features a destination overview, including Miami’s Amazing Attractions, Miami’s History, Heritage and Neighborhoods, a look at the Economic Impact of Tourism as well as a Customer Service Refresher.
Later this summer, we can look forward to the Miami Begins with Me program to be available as an online course as well. More information on the expanded Miami Begins with Me program, details and class registration may be found online at MiamiBeginsWithMe.com