Miami-Dade County

Miami Beach ready to end $5 million automatic payment to Miami-Dade tourism bureau

Miami Beach is moving to stop its yearly $5 million payment to Miami-Dade’s tourism bureau in favor of a performance-based contract.

The plan endorsed by City Manager Jimmy Morales would mean the eventual end of a key source of predictable funding for the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau The bureau relies on county hotel and restaurant taxes for the bulk of its $24 million budget, but the Miami Beach allotment amounts to about a fifth of the funding. The non-profit bureau provides countywide tourism promotion as well as a sales staff that helps book groups in the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Bill Talbert, the bureau’s longtime president, said Tuesday he favors the Morales plan, since it will give Miami Beach a chance to create a payment arrangement more suitable to a renovated convention center. The city is pursuing a $500 million redo of the facility, with hopes of adding a headquarters hotel.

Miami Beach’s finance committee is set to consider the tourism-bureau plan at a meeting Wednesday. Morales recommends extending the bureau’s current $5 million-a-year contract through September 2015, then instituting a long-term agreement with a smaller base fee and incentives tied to booking benchmarks. No financial details were included in the memo, and Morales wrote that exact terms would be negotiated during the one-year extension.