MIAMI BY MARTIN December 2008

A monthly column from Martin Crossland

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Current Miami Temperature: 77°F 25°C balmy degrees
Current Miami Beach Surf Temperature: 77°F 25°C degrees

Art Basel Our convention bureau hosted last week’s pre-convention meeting at The Delano as the destination prepares to host this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach December 4-7, 2008. More than 40,000 arts patrons are expected to descend on Miami Beach for the exhibit, now in its eighth year. This international art show and American sister event of Art Basel in Switzerland is recognized as the most important annual art show of its kind in America. Two hundred leading art galleries will exhibit 20th- and 21st-century art works from more than 1,500 artists. George Neary, GMCVB’s Associate Vice President of Cultural Tourism, will be staffing a community booth at the entrance to the fair with materials showcasing Greater Miami’s museums, galleries and cultural assets. For more information, visit

Will Smith loves Miami
"Estoy muy contento estar aqui en Miami,'' exclaimed Will Smith as he walked into a conference room at the Mandarin Oriental filled with Spanish-language media outlets to review his recent movie Hancock, with his Sonny Crockett-esque white jacket, light blue polo shirt, pair of jeans and his contagious vivacity. A translator helped him out, but Smith dropped some Spanish occasionally.
Is Will Smith a hero or an antihero?
That's very interesting. I think the light side of Will Smith is a hero. But there is a really sneaky dark side that loved being able to say whatever I wanted and be mean to kids.
How does it feel to be an alcoholic superhero?
It was so much fun because it's a part of myself I don't allow to live since I'm in the public eye, smiling, being nice to people. Somebody says something rude and I just smile and laugh. As I've grown to become more successful and realizing some of my dreams I've sort of confined myself comedically.
Was it your idea to make Hancock a Miami native because of your great affinity with our city?
Miami is one of my favorite cities, if not the favorite city in the world. I just love it here. My skin starts to get clear, I get strong and I get that little sexy tan.

Just check out this video of him hammering out "Miami" !

Florida exports on pace for record
By James Thorner, Times Staff Writer

You wouldn't know Florida is in a recession based on the volume of the state's foreign trade. It will be another record-breaking year for Florida exports. Through August, they exceed last year's total by $7-billion, a gain of 24 percent. And the year isn't over. Here are a few details of this little-heralded success story:

Fertilzing India: Two years ago India was Florida's 19th-biggest export destination. This year the country has moved up in rank to sixth. The reason? India's insatiable hunger for phosphates to grow grain. One main beneficiary has been the Mosaic Co., which runs phosphate mines east of Tampa. January through August 2007, Florida exported $400-million worth of goods to India. Through August this year, India had already imported $1.5-billion worth of Florida stuff.

Scrappy exports: Florida's export of scrap metal — including iron and steel — has skyrocketed in value as those commodities fetch higher prices. The astounding growth has been in precious metals. So far this year, exports have passed $1-billion, four times the pace of last year's $242-million. Switzerland has absorbed most of it. The landlocked European nation was Florida's 35th-largest importer in 2006. It has moved up to seventh place this year.

Land of Lincoln loses: With Florida prepared to send $55-billion worth of goods abroad this year — up from $44-billion in 2007 — the state has passed Illinois to become the nation's fifth-biggest exporting state. In the past two years, the Sunshine State passed not just Illinois, but Ohio and Michigan. Small- and mid-sized companies do most of the international trading in Florida. Sixty-one percent of export volume comes from such companies, compared with 29 percent in the rest of the United States.

Flying high to Rio: Brazil solidified its position as Florida's top export destination, taking in $3.4-billion worth of goods so far this year, a jump of 41 percent. It's probably no coincidence that Florida exports of jet and other airplane engines have risen 45 percent. Embraer, the Brazilian aircraft giant, ships aircraft parts back to its home country from its operations in Fort Lauderdale.

Bollywood movie seen as a ‘powerful postcard' for Miami
By | Nov 20, 2008

In a Mumbai theater last weekend, about 80 travel agents, tour operators and travel writers sat down for a screening of Dostana, the latest blockbuster to hit Indian movie screens. The night's sponsor: the Greater Miami Tourism Bureau, headquartered some 9,000 miles away.

Dostana's opening scene explains why. Four of India's biggest movie stars vamp for the camera with Miami's skyline and South Florida beaches as backdrops.

''It really is one big postcard -- it's a powerful postcard,'' Rolando Aedo, the bureau's marketing chief, said of Dostana, the first ''Bollywood'' movie shot entirely in South Florida.

That distinction, along with the Bollywood star power attached to the movie, has tourism officials hoping real-life Indians will follow their silver-screen idols to Miami. The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau has met with Dostana producers in India and sponsored screenings for travel professionals in Delhi as well as Mumbai. The movie, which applied for about $500,000 in state production subsidies, certainly emphasizes the selling points Miami likes to tout around the world.

Dostana centers around three young Indian professionals living in Miami. There's the pristine oceanfront: Shilpa Shetty, the Bollywood actress who gained Western fame when a forceful embrace by Richard Gere sparked protests in India, danced on Hollywood's lush white beach (doubling for Miami Beach) in a cameo during the movie's opening scene. There's the nightlife: The three leads wind up dancing on the bar at Mango's during one wild night out on South Beach's Ocean Drive, arriving in a pink convertible. And there's the fashion: Chopra's character works as an editor at a glossy women's magazine headquartered in downtown Miami.

''I think it portrayed Miami as a fun, bright, interesting place to be,'' said Jeff Peel, head of Miami-Dade's film office. ``Miami could have been a fourth character in the film. How bad could that be?''

Greater Miami & the Beaches ranked No. 1 in the state for hotel room occupancy and No. 2 in room raste for ten months of 2008

For the first ten months of 2008, Greater Miami and the Beaches ranked No.1 in occupancy at 72.3% among the Top 5 Markets in Florida according to Smith Travel Research. Miami ranked No.2 in Average Daily Room Rate (ADR) at $160.42. Smith Travel Research compares and ranks the top markets in the United States based on Occupancy, and Average Daily Room Rate.

Benidorm, Spain, declares war on unruly tourists, and we thought Miami Beach had problems!

BenidormBusy Summer day at Benidorm, Spain
By | Nov 24, 2008
Beaches will be off-bounds between midnight and 7am in a bid to stop drunken couples having sex in the sand after leaving the late night bars and discos.

Daytime beachgoers will be banned from playing ball games, urinating in the sea and building sand castles, which are said to make overnight cleaning more difficult. The measures also prevent sunbathers from laying out towels and erecting parasols before they are ready to take their place on the sand, a practice for which German holidaymakers have earned a reputation.

During the summer months the five kilometres of sandy beaches are packed with sunbathers enjoying the "sun, sea and sangria" ethos of the high-rise resort. By night sunburnt tourists flock to the many clubs lining the beachfront to party into the early hours often ending their evening with a tryst on the beach before passing out on the sand.

But authorities say that such behaviour is detrimental to the resort as a whole and threatens to rob Benidorm of its European Blue Flag status, which denotes the beaches as among the cleanest in Europe.

Last summer beach cleaners gathered more than five tonnes of rubbish from the sand during July and August alone. "With the beach so busy during the night it became very difficult to clean it properly and people were complaining," he said. "The machines (used for cleaning the beach early each morning) came across so many obstacles that they couldn't do their job."

”It's a bit extreme,” said Evelyn Kelly, manager of BB's Bar in Benidorm. ”No sandcastles? And trying to stop people from peeing in the sea – how are they going to police that one?”

Though many of the above rules are already in place on Miami Beach, you can still build sandcastles! .


1st. Dec. 08 to 18th. Jan. 09
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

Up to 28th. Dec. 08
que du Soleil: Corteo

Up to 4th. Jan. 09
Santa's Enchanted Forest

Up to 25th. Jan. 09
The Eye of the Collector: Jewish Vision of Sigmund R. Balka

Up to 1st. Mar. 09
Junior Orange Bowl Festival

1st. to 31st. Dec, 08
Holiday Wonderland at the Deering Estate

2nd. to 7th. Dec. 08
Art Miami 2008

3rd. Dec. 08
Tribute to the Sistema

3rd. to 6th. Dec. 08
Design Miami

2nd. to 7th. Dec.

3rd. to 14th. Dec. /08
Israel Film Festival

4th. to 7th. Dec. 08
Art Basel Miami Beach

4th. Dec. to 8th. Feb. 09
Russian Dream.....
Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach

5th. Dec. 08
Jesus Adrian Romero in concert

6th. Dec. 08
Family Fest - First Saturdays at the Arsht Center

6th. Dec. 08
Concert Association of Florida presents: Michel Camilo

7th. Dec. 08
Holiday Music at Fairchild

10th. Dec.08
Concert Association of Florida presents: Jose Feliciano

12th. Dec. 08
Jazz - Bossa Nova: The First 50 Years

13th. Dec. 08
Celebrity Chef Series: Alton Brown

13th. and 14th. Dec. 08
Paul Taylor Dance Company

14th. Dec. 08
Lil Wayne: I Am Music

19th. Dec. 08
Miami Gay Men's Chorus: The Nutcracker - Men in Tights

19th. Dec. 08
Miami Heat vs. L.A. Lakers

19th. Dec. 08
Seraphic Fire: Handel’s Messiah

19th. to 23rd. Dec. 08
Miami City Ballet
: George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

20th. and 21st. Dec. 08
Zarzuela Tonight

20th. Dec. to 4th. Jan. 09
Winter Nights & Lights

24th. Dec. to 1st. Jan. 09
Miccosukee Indian Arts Festival

31st. Dec. 08
Bayfront Park's New Year's Eve

31st. Dec. 08
City of Miami Beach New Year’s Eve Celebration
Enjoy free fireworks at midnight on the beach at Ocean Drive and 8th Street as Miami Beach rings in the New Year.

31st. Dec. to 4th. Jan. 09


December issue of Visit Florida