MIA’s financial outlook has improved, says Moody’s Bonds for new capital improvement program receive high marks


(MIAMI, January 3, 2019) – In December, Miami International Airport’s steady passenger growth and strong airline partnerships earned it an improved financial outlook from Moody’s Investors Service. The revised outlook – from stable to positive – comes before the sale of $760 million in revenue bonds in early 2019 that will help fund $1.45 billion in capital improvements at MIA over the next three years.

Moody’s also affirmed MIA’s A2 bond rating, based on its projection for MIA to see, “sustained growth in international traffic to Latin America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe, and stronger growth in domestic origination and destination enplanements spurred by service area economic expansion,” according to its rating report. A2 is Moody’s second-highest bond rating.

“The improved outlook from Moody’s further demonstrates that MIA’s position as the gateway of the Americas is stronger than ever,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos. A. Gimenez. “Moreover, MIA just completed its best year ever in both passenger and cargo traffic, and continues to attract new airlines from around the world.”

Moody’s also said in its report: “The positive outlook is based on our expectation that MIA will retain its market share of international and domestic passenger traffic and will continue to steady enplanement growth in 2019, which will track the airport’s revised growth forecast.”

Pending approval by the Board of County Commissioners, a longer-term, multibillion-dollar capital improvement program at MIA would include: the modernization of concourses E, F and G; a new airport hotel; expansion and improvements to the South and North terminals; and additional cargo facilities.

“The improved outlook from Moody’s punctuates what has already been an excellent year for our airport,” said Lester Sola, MIA Director and CEO. “As we prepare to welcome more new international routes and airline partners, as well as to launch new facility improvements, 2019 promises to be even more successful.”  


Message from FDOT: MacArthur Causeway Construction Update

Please see a message below from the Florida Department of Transportation regarding construction work on the MacArthur East Bridge (westbound) starting this week:
  • Beginning Thursday, January 3, two westbound lanes will be closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., while the contractor re-stripes the MacArthur Causeway. Traffic will be shifted to the outside travel lane.
  • On Friday, January 4, the contractor will install a concrete barrier wall and begin work on the westbound inside travel lane. The inside travel lane will be continuously closed for approximately two months.
Ongoing Construction Activities:
Wednesday, January 2, through Saturday, January 5, 2019:
Concrete and bridge work
Construction Activity
  • Continuing partial bridge deck replacement
  • Pouring concrete bridge deck on top of the bridge
  • Continuing beam repairs and substructure repairs under the bridge.
Lane Closures/Detours
  • To do this work safely, it will be necessary to close travel lanes and shoulders at times. One westbound and one eastbound lane will remain open on the causeway at all times
  • Intermittent double lane closures may occur during nighttime hours
  • One westbound inside lane will be closed continuously on SR A1A/MacArthur Causeway from Terminal Island to Alton Road
  • One northbound left turn lane at Alton Road and 5 Street will be closed during bridge operations.
Additional information is available on the SR A1A/MacArthur Causeway East Bridge project page of the department’s website . You may also contact Construction Community Outreach Specialist Melissa J. Rodriguez at 1-305-570-8076 or email her at Melissa@hmlpublicoutreach.com . Drivers are encouraged to call 511 before they drive, or log onto www.fl511.com to get real-time traffic and lane closure information.

MIA recognizes Employee of the Year who gave life-saving CPR


MIA recognizes Employee of the Year who gave life-saving CPR

Aircraft cleaning supervisor reunited with cardiac arrest victim at annual airport gala

MIA press release

(MIAMI, December 19, 2018) – On December 13, at Miami International Airport’s annual Employee Rewards and Recognition Gala, Swissport Aircraft Cleaning Supervisor Anabella Zapata was named MIA’s Employee of the Year for helping to save a man’s life just after he had suffered cardiac arrest inside an airport elevator. Zapata was reunited for the first time with the person she rescued – and was rewarded with two round-trip tickets from American Airlines.

“Congratulations to Ms. Zapata, and to all of the airport’s monthly winners in 2018, for going above and beyond to meet the needs of our passengers,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “Ms. Zapata’s efforts exemplify the level of customer service we want MIA and Miami-Dade County to be known for.”

On May 30, Luis Ramos collapsed inside an elevator from cardiac arrest while making food deliveries at MIA. Zapata was waiting for the same elevator and once she saw the doors open, she saw Ramos on the ground and barely breathing. Prior to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) arriving, Zapata put her skills to work from a CPR class she took four years ag

o for an intense 16 minutes of resuscitation.

Upon arrival, MDFR paramedics gave Ramos advanced life support treatment. Because of Zapata’s quick reaction in providing early CPR, the patient regained spontaneous breathing and a pulse, allowing him to survive.

“We are extremely proud of all our employee of the month winners, for their compassionate, customer-first actions,” said Lester Sola, Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) Director and CEO. “As MIA welcomes more travelers from new global destinations, providing excellent customer service to each of our passengers is more important than ever before.”

Zapata, who was chosen by a committee of MIA employees and tenants, won a pair of American Airlines tickets good for travel anywhere in the continental U.S., Mexico or the Caribbean.

MIA’s new facial recognition screening facility catches the eye of the International Airport Review Awards

MIA’s new facial recognition screening facility catches the eye of the International Airport Review Awards
Airport chosen from 80 nominations worldwide in the Passenger Experience category

 MIA’s biometrics-only Concourse E Passport Screening Facility
Click here for hi-res images

MIAMI (December 13, 2018) — On December 7, Miami International Airport’s new biometrics-only passport screening facility – the first of its kind in the U.S. – was chosen from among 80 nominations worldwide as the 2018 International Airport Review Award winner in the Passenger Experience and Seamless Travel category.

After receiving more than 12,000 votes from members of the aviation industry, the award submissions were shortlisted by a process of votes received and by each entry being judged on its own individual merit. The shortlist was then submitted to a panel of industry experts to judge the winners in each category.

“Congratulations to MIA for once again being recognized as a global leader in the field of seamless passenger screening and innovative technology,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “Recent enhancements are providing the world-class travel experience we want all our visitors to have when they enter Miami-Dade County.” 

Since MIA launched its biometric entry pilot program in November 2017, its renovated Concourse E facility has been screening as many as 10 passengers per minute via facial recognition. The new technology by U.S. Customs and Border Protection verifies a traveler’s identity by matching their facial image to the document they are presenting. The airlines now using the Concourse E facility have seen their wait times decrease by 30 to 80 percent year over year since relocating from MIA’s Concourse D. MIA expects to begin expanding biometric entry processing to its  Concourse D and J passport control facilities in 2019.

“We are honored to be recognized by International Airport Review, and by voters from our industry, for the launch of this cutting-edge passport screening facility,” said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Lester Sola. “We look forward to partnering with CBP on the expansion of biometric screening throughout our terminal, which will mean shorter, smoother wait times for all our passengers.”

Launched to celebrate industry excellence, the International Airport Awards are open to airports and suppliers alike, and invite organizations to submit entries that showcase innovation in 11 categories across the airport and aviation industry. International Airport Review is one of the leading sources of information for the airport and aviation community, covering passenger experience, airside operations, terminal operations, security, information technology, ATC/ATM, airport development, construction and design.

Congratulations to GMBHA Hospitality Leadership Award Winners and Nominees!!

Congratulations to all of our winners and nominees!
pictures coming soon…

Outstanding Manager of the Year

Over 200 rooms – Joseph Fuentas, Loews Miami Beach Hotel Miami

Under 200 rooms – Juan Zuniga, Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach

Over 200 rooms – Carlos Velez, Shelborne Miami Beach
Under 200 rooms – Alejandra Villarreal, The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, Miami

Over 200 rooms  – Ciprian Rodriguez, The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami
Under 200 rooms – Christian Quinones, W Miami

Engineering Manager
Over 200 rooms – Omar Rodas, Mondrian South Beach
Under 200 rooms – Eliecer Aguilera, Faena Hotel Miami Beach

Executive Steward
Jorge Zamora, EAST, Miami

Finance Manager
Over 200 room – Donna Lewis, The Confidante
Under 200 rooms – Mirela Fiegel, Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach

Food & Beverage/Banquets Manager
Over 200 rooms – Nikola Vujicic, Trump National Doral Miami
Under 200 rooms – Sarah Jones, Kimpton Surfcomber

Housekeeping Manager
Over 200 rooms – Au Jane De Celis, W South Beach
Under 200 rooms – Mary Santana, SLS South Beach

Human Resources Manager
Over 200 rooms – Aatifa Jamal, St. Regis Bal Harbour
Under 200 rooms – Lana Meduric, The Setai Miami Beach

Recreation/Spa Manager
Over 200 – Charlotte Prescott, The Biltmore Hotel
Under 200 – Michael Geffin, Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club

Revenue Manager
Over 200 rooms – Rajneel Conhyea, 1 Hotel South Beach
Under 200 rooms – Melody Miller, Faena Hotel Miami Beach

Rooms Divisions/Front Office Manager
Over 200 rooms – Paula Temponi, Miami Marriott Dadeland
Under 200 rooms – Edward Vasquez, Dream South Beach

Sales/Marketing/PR Manager
Over 200 rooms – Susan Duggan, Mandarin Oriental, Miami
Under 200 rooms – Natalie Morgan, W Miami

Security Manager
Over 200 rooms – Fernando Espinales, Miami Beach EDITION
Under 200 rooms – Erica Buchholz, Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club

IT Manager
Over 200 rooms – Chris Persaud, Shelborne Miami Beach
Under 200 rooms – Jean Bessard, Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach

Assistant GM/Hotel Manager
Sharonjoy Edgecombe, Gale South Beach


Nominees for the AOHT 28th Annual South Florida Tourism Professional of the Year as well as the Restaurant of the Year announced!

MEDIA ADVISORY                                              Contact: Josie Podesta Soto



28th Annual Tourism Professional of the Year Award
to be Presented November 30

November 5, 2018, Miami— Nominees for the 28th Annual South Florida Tourism Professional of the Year as well as the Restaurant of the Year were announced today.  These awards will be presented by the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism (AOHT) Advisory Board when the nominees are honored at the luncheon to be held on November 30, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Miami at 11:30 a.m.

 The nominees for this year’s Tourism Professional of the Year are:

 – Gabe Castrillon, General Manager, Hyatt Regency Miami
– David Cesario, General Manager, Marriott Miami Biscayne Bay
– Shelly Smith Fano, Director, Hospitality Management Program, Miami Dade College
 – Carol L. Henderson, Vice President Business Development, Brightline
– Lynne Hernandez, South Florida Regional Director, Florida Restaurant Lodging Association
– Alyce M. Robertson, President & CEO, Miami Downtown Development Authority, DDA
–  David Wallack, CEO, Mango’s Tropical Cafe

 The nominees for Restaurant of the Year are Edukos, Tuyo and the Valls Group (Casa Juancho, La Carreta, & Versailles) Last year’s winner of the Restaurant of the Year is Sergio’s Restaurants

 Distinguished past recipients of the Tourism Professional of the Year Award include George Neary,  Wendy Kallergis, GMBHA, Henry Delgado, Smith & Wollensky, Kimberly Wilson, Walt Disney World, Rocco Angelo, Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management,   the late Tony Goldman, Goldman Properties, William Talbert, III, and  Alvin West, Sr. GMCVB, and Academy Founders,  Stuart Blumberg, Retired, Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association, Bob Dickinson, Retired, Carnival Cruise Lines, and the late Jeanne Westphal,  in addition to others.

 The Academy of Hospitality and Tourism is a member of the non-profit, NAF.  For over thirty years, NAF has refined a proven model that provides young people access to industry-specific curricular, work-based learning experiences and prepares them for college and industry careers. Academies are in 16 Miami public high schools.  Proceeds of the luncheon benefit work-based learning activities and scholarships for AOHT students and professional development for teachers.

 Tickets for the event are $80.00 for an individual ticket or $1000 for a table/vendor sponsorship.  To purchase tickets for the luncheon, contact Ann Fields at 305.693.3030 or e-mail annfields@dadeschools.net.  



Success of Greater Miami’s travel industry driven by GMCVB marketing efforts and
partnerships will be further supported by future tourism infrastructure investments such as the Convention Center Headquarter Hotel

MIAMI – October 26, 2018 – The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) restated today its support for election ballot items promoting tourism infrastructure investment during its annual meeting at the newly reimagined $620 million Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC).  The GMCVB presented the travel industry with the latest tourism performance metrics which include a record-breaking 16 million overnight visitors to the destination during September 2017-August 2018, representing a +1% increase over the same time the previous year; despite Hurricane Irma.  The increase in overnight visitors drove a record-breaking $26.5 billion in expenditures, an increase of +2% compared to the same time period the previous year.  The strength of Greater Miami’s travel and tourism industry is especially evident in hotel performance where revenue per available room (RevPar) grew by more than +10% over the same time period the previous year.    

Hotel performance showed strengthening September 2017-August 2018 despite Hurricane Irma in September 2017 resulting in a temporary slowdown of tourism due to mandatory evacuations and airport closures.  The impressive double-digit growth in RevPar was driven by the +7.9% increase in hotel room rate and the +2% growth in hotel occupancy during the September 2017-August 2018 time period – all record-breaking numbers.  Hotel demand also reached record-breaking status and grew +2.2% in the same time period.  The hotel industry’s success can be attributed in part to the GMCVB’s “Hotels First” Marketing Initiative which positions hotels as the focal point of a visitor’s vacation. The “Hotels First” marketing initiative worked in tandem with the GMCVB’s “Found in Miami” Global Marketing Campaign calling on travelers to discover the rich heritage of Greater Miami’s multicultural neighborhoods.  The marketing programs along with the Bureau’s newly formed divisions: Multicultural Tourism & Development and Sports & Entertainment Tourism, have re-energized these emerging sectors thus generating hotel demand from these segments.   The GMCVB’s marketing initiatives include message development surrounding tourism infrastructure enhancements seen over the last few years including:  privately funded cruise terminals at PortMiami, a wave of new hotel inventory, new transportation offerings such as Brightline, the recently approved Jungle Island Hotel and the crown-jewel of tourism infrastructure investment – the $620 million renovated and expanded Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC).  The reimagined MBCC is a crucial element in the destination’s meetings and conventions sales package – considered incomplete without a headquarter convention hotel directly connected to the new MBCC. 

“We are losing business to competing destinations offering updated convention centers with not just one, but sometimes two or three convention center headquarter hotels,” said William D. Talbert, III, CDME. “The proposed convention center headquarter hotel requires no public subsidy and generates revenue for city programs.  The time is now to successfully finish the job and offer meeting planners and clients a competitive convention center package for Greater Miami and the Beaches.”

The GMCVB estimates $130 million in lost business in 2017 due to lack of a connected headquarter hotel.  The proposed headquarter hotel will help attract citywide conventions ensuring the MBCC is filled with the type of business that generates less traffic and provides higher return-on-investment in the way of economic impact for the community. The destination experienced the first such meeting in September when the newly renovated MBCC hosted its first citywide convention, The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), and is now preparing to host its second convention, The International Society of Esthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), in a few days.  Medical and technology meetings such as these are considered a “sweet spot” for the new convention center.  In just two short months, these conventions will have generated $10 million in economic impact for the community.  

“We were fortunate to have some medical meetings booked in the new convention center, but we know they will not return, and other conventions like them will not book in Greater Miami without a connected headquarter convention center hotel,” said Bruce Orosz, GMCVB Board Chair.  “The economic impact resulting from these conventions can be felt far and wide in the community and it’s why we are calling on the local business community to become a “Miami Magnet” and help attract more conventions to Greater Miami and the Beaches.”

The Miami Magnet Initiative is a program created by the GMCVB in order to recruit local business leaders to help secure meetings and conventions for Greater Miami.  The program increases awareness of the economic impact generated by meetings and conventions and supports the national “Meetings Mean Business” coalition – platform bringing the industry together to emphasize the undeniable value generated by travel and face-to-face meetings.   As Greater Miami’s meetings and conventions offerings continue to evolve, so too will the Miami Magnets’ opportunity to make an impact on the local community.

Ballot items supported by the GMCVB:

 –  The GMCVB supports all 6 Miami Beach specific ballot items:  #384, #386, #388, #390, #392, #394.  Ballot #388 will successfully complete the convention center district and provide the destination with a connected headquarter hotel.  According to Miami Connect, the 100% privately financed hotel will bring $362 million in new investment to Miami Beach. 

–  The GMCVB supports City of Miami ballot item #378 to approve Miami Freedom Park, which could create 13,000 high-paying jobs for residents and generate more than $40 million in new tax revenue for the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the State of Florida – while providing the community with a 58-acre public park and additional greenspace at no cost to tax payers


About the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) is an accredited not-for-profit sales and marketing organization whose mission is to attract visitors to Greater Miami and the Beaches for leisure, business and conventions. For a vacation guide, visit our website at www.MiamiandBeaches.com or call 1.888.76.MIAMI (US/Canada only) or 305.447.7777. To reach the GMCVB offices dial 305.539.3000. Meeting planners may call 1.800.933.8448 (US/Canada only) or 305.539.3071 or visit www.MiamiMeetings.com. To get further engaged with Miami and the Beaches, join the conversation by following us on our social media channels at Facebook.com/visitmiami, Twitter.com/miamiandbeaches, Instagram.com/miamiandbeaches & Pinterest.com/miamiandbeaches.