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  



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 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 To get further engaged with Miami and the Beaches, join the conversation by following us on our social media channels at,, &

Hospitality Management Students from the Miami Dade College Kendall Campus visited Sergio’s Cuban Restaurant for a Behind the Scenes Operational Tour

Hospitality Management Students from the Miami Dade College Kendall Campus visited Sergio’s Cuban Restaurant for a Behind the Scenes Operational Tour.  Students are enrolled into the Introduction to Hospitality Management class instructed by Pedro Acosta, and are learning all of the different sectors of Hospitality in this course.  Students were able students to see first hand what it takes to run a restaurant and company with more than 14 locations. The students had the opportunity to go behind the scenes and see the back of the house, front of the house and see what it takes to run a successful restaurant concept and how to implement new ideas to keep coming back and become part of the experience. They also were given career advice, hands-on training information and were able to sample popular cuban dishes.


MIA welcomes Amazon Air as company continues to expand


MIA welcomes Amazon Air as company continues to expand
Amazon Air now operates double-daily cargo flights out of MIA


(MIAMI, October 11, 2018) – Miami International Airport is now part of Amazon Air’s cargo flight operations. The company has launched double-daily freighter service at MIA to destinations across the U.S. The new cargo service is being operated by Atlas Air Worldwide with Boeing 767-300F aircraft, and includes an onsite facility to sort packages bound for their next destination.

“I proudly welcome Amazon Air’s expansion to Miami-Dade County, and appreciate its commitment of two daily flights at MIA,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “I wish them continued success and growth within our community.”

“We are excited to launch the Miami gateway to support our growing air operation,” said Sarah Rhoads, Director of Amazon Air. “Amazon has enjoyed being a part of the Miami-Dade community and are thrilled to continue our relationship.” 

Amazon already operates four warehouses in Miami-Dade County, all within 12 miles of MIA – the largest of which is a new 885,000-square-foot fulfillment center at Miami-Opa locka Executive Airport just completed this year.

Amazon Air’s launch comes nine months after Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) officials hosted its first e-Commerce strategy workshop with more than 30 local air cargo industry stakeholders, with the goal of establishing Miami-Dade County as one of the world’s leading e-commerce hubs. Market research firm eMarketer forecasts Latin America to be a strong e-commerce growth region during that span, with a projected doubling of annual sales from $47.4 billion in 2015 to $84.8 billion in 2019. MIA is America’s busiest airport for international freight and handles more freight to Latin America and the Caribbean than any other U.S. airport.

“Amazon Air’s two daily flights will add a significant boost to our domestic cargo traffic, which is already up 17 percent through August,” said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Lester Sola.


FONTAINEBLEAU MIAMI BEACH Celebrates Ten Years of Raising Awareness for Breast Cancer Research with Annual BLEAU GOES PINK® Campaign

StripSteak by Michael Mina, Scarpetta by Scott Conant and Hakkasan to offer special prix fixe dining

Monday, October 1, 2018 — Miami Beach, Fla. – This October, in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Fontainebleau Miami Beach has once again partnered with Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Health System, South Florida’s leader in breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and care, to host the tenth Bleau Goes Pink campaign. To raise both awareness and funds for the cause, the iconic Miami Beach property is featuring month-long dining promotions at signature dining destinations, StripSteak by Michael Mina, Scarpetta by Scott Conant and Hakkasan in the form of specially priced three course prix-fixe menus. A percentage of the proceeds will benefit breast cancer research at Sylvester.

On MondayOctober 1st, the hotel will kick off Bleau Goes Pink by lighting the historic Chateau building in pink. The lighting which requires over 100 high-powered lighting fixtures will begin on Monday, October 1 and will resume from dusk to 10:00 p.m. each night throughout the month of October.

Three-course, prix-fixe dinner menus priced at $55 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, will be offered throughout October at StripSteak by Michael Mina, Scarpetta by Scott Conantand Hakkasan. Each menu will include an appetizer, entrée, dessert and a glass of rosé. For every dinner ordered, five dollars will be donated to Sylvester; menus follow.


APPETIZER – choose one

Burrata Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil Pesto & Balsamic Pearls

Mediterranean Octopus Potatoes, Capers, Olives & Smoked Crema

Creamy Polenta Fricassee of Truffled Mushrooms

ENTREE – choose one

Spaghetti Tomato & Basil

Roasted Branzino Sunchoke, Eggplant & Salmoriglio

Oven Roasted Chicken Swiss Chard, Pancetta, Black Garlic Gnudi, Pancetta & Fava Bean Purée

Short Rib Agnolotti Dal Pin Horseradish, Brown Butter & Red Wine Reduction



Créme Fraiche Panna Cotta Mango, Coconut Crumble & Passion Fruit Bubbles

Amedei Chocolate Cake Fresh Mint Gel, Crémeux & Stracciatella Gelato



APPETIZER – choose one

Jumbo Gulf Shrimp Cocktail Sapphire Gin, Cocktail Sauce

“Instant Bacon” Braised Pork Belly, Smoked Pineapple, Radish Salad

BLT Wedge Salad  Blue Cheese, Cherry Tomato, Pickled Shallot, Crispy Bacon


ENTREE – choose one

Scottish Salmon Beluga Lentils, Vierge Provençale, Fino Sherry Butter

Black Truffle Risotto 63° Vidalia Onion, Green Apple, Celeriac

 8 oz Filet Mignon Charred Onion Soubise, Garlic Confit



Mocha Crème Brûlée Coconut, Smoked Butter Ice Cream

Warm Apple Cake Walnut, Miso Honey Ice Cream


HAKKASAN  (All dishes are served family style except the dessert)


Dim Sum Platter 

Har Gau

Scallop Shui Mai

Royal Trumpet & Morel Mushroom Dumpling

Black Rice Vegetable Dumpling



Seared Snapper with Supreme Homemade Soya Sauce

Stir-Fry Vegetarian Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce

Shrimp Fried Rice with Homemade XO Sauce


DESSERT (choose one)

Mango Custard Grapefruit, Calamansi, Coconut Sorbet

Warm Chocolate Fondant Passion Fruit, Banana, Soy Caramel Ice Cream


HAKKASAN | VEGETARIAN MENU (All dishes are served family style except the dessert)


Green Salad with Crispy Lotus Root in Plum Dressing


Tofu Clay Pot in Black Bean Sauce

Stir-fry Black Pepper Vegetarian Chicken

Taro Root Vegetable Fried Rice

DESSERT (choose one)

Mango Custard Grapefruit, Calamansi, Coconut Sorbet

Warm Chocolate Fondant Passion Fruit, Banana, Soy Caramel Ice Cream


Media contacts:                                       

Karen Barofsky | Larry Carrino | Marel Hinners l Sofia Terrazas                              Brustman Carrino Public Relations

Tel: 305.573.0658

Stephanie Giner, Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Tel: 305.535.3208

For more information about Bleau Goes Pink and to view menus, visit or call 877.326.7412

# # #

About Fontainebleau Miami Beach

A spectacular blend of Golden Era glamour and modern luxury, Fontainebleau Miami Beach merges striking design, contemporary art, music, fashion and history into a vibrant guest experience. A revered landmark and symbol of style and sophistication since its opening in 1954, Fontainebleau Miami Beach boasts 1,504 guestrooms and suites appointed with lavish amenities; the world-renowned LIV™ Nightclub, 12 restaurants and lounges including two restaurants from Chef Michael Mina – StripSteak and Pizza & Burger; two AAA Four Diamond signature restaurants, Scarpetta and Hakkasan; the 40,000-square-foot Lapis spa with mineral-rich water therapies and invigorating treatments; a dramatic oceanfront pool-scape offering lush cabanas; and is home to BleauLive, the innovative concert series that combines intimate performances with memorable weekend escapes. For general information or accommodations at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, visit or call 1.877.512.8002

About Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is among the nation’s leading cancer centers and South Florida’s only Cancer Center of Excellence. A 2015 study by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that cancer patients treated at Sylvester have a 10 percent higher chance of survival than those treated at nearly any other cancer center in the nation. With the combined strength of more than 120 cancer researchers and 130 cancer specialists, Sylvester discovers, develops and delivers more targeted therapies, providing the next generation of cancer clinical care – precision cancer medicine – to each patient. Our comprehensive diagnostics, coupled with teams of scientific and clinical experts who specialize in just one type of cancer, enable us to better understand each patient’s individual cancer and develop treatments that target the cells and genes driving the cancer’s growth and survival, leading to better outcomes. At Sylvester, patients have access to more treatment options and more cancer clinical trials than most hospitals in the southeastern United States. To better serve current and future patients, Sylvester has a network of conveniently located outpatient treatment facilities in Miami, Coral Gables, Kendall, Hollywood, Plantation, Deerfield Beach and Coral Springs. For more information, visit

Miami Beach Goes Above and Beyond in its Water Monitoring Program

September 28, 2018

Miami Beach Goes Above and Beyond in its Water Monitoring Program

  • Proactively Launching Municipal Water Quality Program with No Major Issues Identified in First Year—

 Miami Beach, FL –To monitor the health of Miami Beach waterways and better inform stormwater management decisions, the City voluntarily launched a water quality sampling program in late 2016 that expands upon Miami-Dade County’s existing sampling network. The program added more than 60 sampling points throughout Miami Beach that build upon the nearly 90 stations countywide and provided a more robust snapshot of local water quality.

Upon completion of the first year of sampling, the City retained a third-party water quality expert, Dr. Charles Rowney, to analyze the data collected by the City’s sampling program and evaluate the program design. Dr. Rowney has over 35 years of experience in assessing, implementing, and interpreting water quality programs.

“In my view, the monitoring program launched by the City has been highly productive,” noted Dr. Rowney. “It has not only provided immediate value by generating new data, but it has shed light on a number of factors of importance in effectively monitoring and managing this system. The foundation of understanding developed in year one has the potential to materially benefit water quality management efforts going forward, by guiding future monitoring activity towards even better outcomes, leading to a better understanding of factors affecting water quality and ultimately to implementation of the best protective measures possible.”

At a technical water quality discussion held this week with representatives from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami and other regional stakeholders, Dr. Rowney shared his findings. Based on his analysis of the Miami Beach water quality sampling program and the data collected during the monitoring period, there is no indication of gross or persistent sanitary system contamination into Biscayne Bay from Miami Beach.

“The bottom line is that after carefully evaluating 62 strategic locations – no major discharges from our sanitary system were detected in the waters of the Bay adjacent to Miami Beach. We will continue to be extremely proactive in our environmental monitoring and do what is best for our community and natural ecosystem,” stated Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán.

As the Miami Beach water quality monitoring program nears the completion of its second year, it will continue to serve as a useful screening level program for early detection of major or potentially chronic water quality concerns that could impact Biscayne Bay so the City can address them swiftly.

“We are excited that we were able to set an example by launching one of the only municipal water quality sampling programs in the region,” explained Assistant Director of Environment and Sustainability Margarita Wells. “The program is crucial in ensuring that our decisions are data-driven.”

While at this time no major issues have been identified, the City is consistently evaluating its stormwater management program to go above and beyond in protecting this regional resource.

“As the Director of Public Works, I have no greater responsibility than protecting public health and safety by operating the wastewater and stormwater systems appropriately,” expressed Director of Public Works Roy Coley. “What Dr. Rowney’s report has confirmed is that the City of Miami Beach does not have systematic issues with sewerage being discharged into Biscayne Bay.”