Mi­ami hopes to beckon Chi­nese tourists, beaches and all

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By AMY HE in New York amyhe@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Con­vinc­ing Chi­nese to visit Mi­ami re­quires a lot of per­sua­sion and ed­uca-tion about Amer­i­can beach and wa­ter cul­ture .“[ Chi­nese] in­ter­est in beaches is min­i­mal. One day at the beach is al­ready ad­e­quate, but[ beaches] are an im­por­tant part of what Mi­ami has to of­fer ,” said Bruce Orosz, chair­man of the Greater Mi­ami Con­ven­tion& Visi-tors Bureau (GMCVB), Mi­ami’ s of­fi­cial mar­ket­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion .“So when we have Chi­nese vis­i­tors or del­e­ga­tions, we want to take peo­ple to ex­plore by boat, and they come away be­ing amazed that Mi­ami has wa­ter-ways that makes nav­i­gat­ing around this town so amaz­ing ,” he said. Of the ma­jor US tourist cities de vot-ing more mar­ket­ing re­sources to at­tract the Chi­nese, Mi­ami is faced with two

"There have been (sto­ries) about North Mi­ami be­com­ing a des­ti­na­tion ... call it the fu­ture Chi­na­town." Bruce Orosz, chair­man, Greater Mi­ami Con­ven­tion & Vis­i­tors Bureau

quan­daries that other gate­way cities do not have: The city has no non­stop flights to and from any Chi­nese city (though Orosz said that’s some­thing he and his team are work­ing on), and Mi­ami does not have the same brand recog­ni­tion with Chi­nese trav­el­ers that New York, Los An­ge­les or even Boston has .“Last week, I had agues there from China who’s a fund man­ager and he said he frankly didn’t know what to ex­pect ,” Or os zs aid .“He didn’t re­ally know the depth of what we had to of­fer in this town .” Be­cause of the lack of di­rect flights, it is dif­fi­cult to mea­sure how many Chi­nese visit Mi­ami, and the tourism agency only has es­ti­mates based on how many Chi­nese tran­sit through Mi­ami’ s air­ports. The Mi­ami mar­ket gen­er­ated more than 55,000 Chi­nese pas­sen­gers in 2014, thought hat­figu re also in­cludes those who can be headed to an­other des­ti­na­tion withal ayov erin Mi­ami. Orosz said that since 2014, there has been more and more in­ter­est in Mi­ami from China .“We’ re start­ing to see some in­ter­est and de­sire in the town. There have been [me­dia ar­ti­cles] about North Mi­ami be­com­ing a des­ti­na­tion in the fu­ture, call it the fu­ture Chi­na­town of Mi­ami ,” he said .“There are acres and acres, and they’ re talk­ing to nu­mer­ous Chi­nese in­vestors about try­ing to build a com-mu­nity, so we feel that there’ s tremen-dous op­por­tu­ni­ties go­ing for­ward with the ex­pan­sion ,” said Orosz. Mi­ami is in­creas­ingly a city of in­ter-est for Chi­nese in­vestors who are shop-ping for real es­tate devel­op­ment proj-ects through the fed­eral EB -5 pro­gram, which grants visas for in­vestors and their fam­i­lies who in­vest at least $1 mil­lion ($500,000 in cer­tain ar­eas) and cre­ate at least 10 jobs. In No­vem­ber 2015, the Panorama Tower in Mi­ami, the tallest build­ing on the Eastern Se­aboard, re­port­edly re­ceived nu­mer­ous in­quiries from Chi­nese in­vestors in­ter­ested in the devel­op­ment. Or os z says that the GMCVB team is work­ing not only with tour op­er­a­tors but also meet­ing plan­ners and des­tina-tion man­agers to pro­mote Mi­ami as a place of busi­ness and leisure. Repre-sen­ta­tives also travel to var­i­ous trade mis­sions to China through­out the year. "It's a full cadre of what you would hope for from a tourism per­spec­tive for us to touch as many Chi­nese trav­el­ers as pos­si­ble, so we’re go­ing through the en­tire specter. "We have ma­te­rial that we dis­trib­ute; we’re host­ing many del­e­ga­tions that are com­ing into town, with the hopes that when they go back to China, with the help of our rep­re­sen­ta­tives, that they’ll con­tinue to pro­mote the ac­tiv­i­ties that we have here in Mi­ami that we feel a Chi­nese con­sumer would re­ally en­joy,” he said.The GMCVB is de­vel­op­ing a TV pro-gram with a ma­jor Chi­nese tele­vi­sion group that will in­tro­duce Chi­nese view-ers to Mi­ami, though Orosz de­clined to dis­close more de­tails.

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