Over the past 10 years the business community has consistently supported the concept of renovating the Miami Beach Convention Center as a vital resource to the local economy. On August 14th, voters came together and overwhelmingly passed the penny increase to the resort tax which will directly fund the modernization of this regional center.
Local Business leaders from the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, Miami Beach Visitor & Convention Authority Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association, Miami Beach Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the Latin American Chamber of Commerce as well as residents from the community formed a coalition to support the ‘Vote YES’ #502 campaign to pass this long awaited initiative. Efforts by the coalition to educate the Miami Beach citizens were met with success when it was passed 67% to 33% on Tuesday, August 14th.
Miami Beach residents where asked whether they will allow the City Commission to raise the resort tax by up to one penny for the improvement of the Convention Center. The educational aspect of the ‘Vote Yes’ campaign was to stress that this is a tax on tourists, and not one paid by residents. With over 13 million tourists and visitors that stay in the Miami Beach hotels each year, it is estimated that this tax could bring close to $10 million annually for renovations and improvements. The tax will not be collected until a redesign plan of the building is implemented.
Miami Beach is an ever evolving city and the voters supported that the Convention Centers needs to be upgraded to compete in today’s market.
Currently Miami Beach ranks in the top three destination cities, however, the convention center ranks 30 nationally. Several conventions, such as IBM, will not come back to the facility, because it is inadequate and cannot accommodate for the technological and physical needs of an expanded convention.
Although the Convention Center currently attracts world renowned shows such as Art Basel and the Boat Show it is important for them to seek out more business to come to Miami Beach.
Along with the Resort Tax being passed, the incumbent Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez won a full term and Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle was re-elected into her sixth term.