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Miami's Marriage of Arts and Tourism

Posted by Laura Bruney
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Miami's Marriage of Arts and Tourism

Cultural Tourism is exploding here in a Miami—in a good way according to Bruce Turkel, CEO of TURKEL, a travel and tourism marketing firm in Miami.

 

“It makes sense that when you have people coming from all around the world there are so many advantages,” says Turkel referring to the increase of cultural tourism here in Miami. “When they come originally, they come specifically for our core offerings which are weather, water, and dolphins. But after a while, they start looking for additional things and then those things are created.”

 

On Thursday, April 5, Mr. Turkel electrified a group of 120 attendees all representing either the tourism and hospitality industry or the arts at the Annual Breakfast with the Arts & Hospitality Industry, a program of the Arts & Business Council of Miami. The topic: Partnerships between the arts and tourism.

 

“When you have people from other locales in the community, they start to want to contribute these things [cultural offerings] and all of a sudden, we can take a place in the world economy,” says Turkel.

 

The conversation is a fairly fresh one here in Miami. We’ve seen overwhelming successes of art shows like Basel Miami and its satellite fairs. The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau’s (GMCVB) signature programs spawned by George Neary including Miami Museum Month, Miami Music Month, Miami Attractions Month, and Miami Spa Month have all had a tremendous impact on reinforcing the bond between tourism and the arts. 

 

“The newest Frank Gehry-designed performing arts center? It’s in Miami. The hottest festivals and events? They’re in Miami, too. The most important art, marine, and electronica music festivals? They’re all in Miami. Art Basel Miami Beach and Design Miami? Again, I’m pretty sure you’ve got it,” says Turkel. Turkel noted that it seems simple now, but it took a lot of work for his company and the GMCVB to convince the power structure throughout our county to narrow our marketing focus from every community and every tourist asset to just five letters: M-I-A-M-I.

 

“We aren’t from Pinecrest, Miami Shores, Aventura, and all the other cities individually, says George Neary, “We all are from MIAMI.”

 

Mr. Neary recognizes that the development and success of neighborhoods like Wynwood and the Design District are proof that people don’t want to just stay in their smaller cities anyone. Now, they want to explore and excavate all the precious gems of arts and culture that have been growing in our own backyards with the help of enthusiasts like the Goldman family and the Rubell family.

 

According to Turkel Talks, Bruce’s blog, the cultural community plays a big role in our record setting visitors this year.

 

Jenni Person, director of Miami arts group Next@19th, has partnered with The Betsy Hotel on South Beach for poetry readings, performances, and events.

 

“Working with The Betsy helps generate visibility for our work and extends our reach to their substantial audience interested in the arts. The promotional value is priceless.

 

Through our partnership they champion and support Next@19th which sends a message to potential audience and funders about the company we keep. What does the hotel get in return? Patrons who eat and drink in their restaurant and lounge are potential new clients. All of our audiences see the hotel brand in promotional material for our programs. There is great synergy between the two audiences and partners. It is a win-win for us all.”

 

But the list goes on of cultural tourism partnerships that are creating a draw for tourism bringing us even more arts and cultural opportunities.

 

“George Cozonis of the W Hotel works very closely with the folks at Art Basel to put on special events, the Betsy Hotel is also very involved [in the arts], as well as the Sonesta, Mutiny, and Ritz Carlton in Coconut Grove” says Turkel.

 

While the ocean-drive-beach-bound tourist is not extinct, the new approach encourages locals, vacationers, and visitors to experience Miami in a way that didn’t recognize before. This new approach allows all of us to experience our vast international marketing by exploring the arts, food and entertainment. All of which are foundations across many cultures.

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