Cruise lines to use ads to fight tax


MIAMI -- The controversy over legislation to tax Port of Miami cruise passengers for a planned $400 million Florida Marlins baseball stadium here heated up, as cruise lines readied a six-figure media campaign to counter an advertising blitz by the team.

The industry's campaign was slated to be aired on television and radio and in the print media within days, matching a campaign launched by the Marlins last week, said Michele Paige, president of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association.

Commenting on the industry's campaign, Paige said: "It will get everybody who knows and deals with the travel industry involved. It will put a human face on the issue, showing that it involves the livelihoods of the people who work next door."

In another development, the Miami Dade County Commission, which administers the port, unanimously passed a resolution opposing the passenger tax. The media battle intensified as the Marlins brought former all-star players Andre Dawson and Tony Perez to the state capital in Tallahassee to sign autographs for legislators.

FCCA chairman Rick Sasso also held a press conference there, warning legislators that the proposed tax would imperil 6,700 cruise-related jobs in Miami and a combined direct economic impact of more than $1.7 billion.

Under the plan, cruise passengers would pay a $4 per day head tax, or $56 per couple on a seven-day cruise, to subsidize the $400 million stadium.

A new port authority board would issue bonds for the project and be empowered to raise the tax to as much as $8 daily in order to pay off the bonds.

The legislation (SB2346), introduced by state Sen. Ron Silver (D.-North Miami Beach), also calls for the plan to be approved by Miami-Dade voters in a referendum during the November elections.

In spite of the controversy raging over the bill, battle lines among politicians are still in a preliminary stage. Although local county commissioners have voiced opposition to the plan, members of the area's legislative delegation in Tallahassee have not yet taken a public stand.

At the same time, the Marlins major league baseball franchise has put together a large corps of powerful lobbyists to push the plan.

Paige, who denounced the plan as a threat to the viability of the cruise industry in Miami, noted that the the new stadium is unrelated to the promotion of the cruise and travel industries.

"Should this tax pass," she said, "it will undoubtedly deal a severe economic blow to Miami-Dade County, something it does not need."

Observing that the cruise industry is one of the area's key economic engines, she said the industry purchases more hotel rooms and attraction tickets than any other industry here.


From Our Partners

2020 Elite Island Webinar
More Family Fun in St. Lucia @ St. James’s Club Morgan Bay
Watch Now
Capitalizing on a Peak Year for Alaska Cruising
Read More
2020 Expo 2020 Feb
The World’s Greatest Show - EXPO 2020, DUBAI & ABU DHABI
Register Now

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI