18 OCT 2018: Miami is sizzling hot - group of Toronto travel agents can attest to that. Representatives from The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau invited seasoned travel pros to roll up their sleeves in an interactive cooking class that had them slice, sauté, and simmer some traditional Latin flavours at Cirillo's Culinary Academy in the city's west end. 

Linda Stilmann, senior director of sales, USA, Canada and emerging markets, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, thanked travel industry partners on their business and support as she, alongside six CVB partners joined  their guests in cooking up a Latin-infused feast. Think Costa Rican inspired Shrimp Ceviche, Argentinian grilled beef flat iron chimichurri and four other yummy dishes.
Miami: Beyond the surf and sand

Stilmann anticipates Canadian travellers will love the sun, sea and cosmopolitan lifestyle Miami is famous for but reminds trade to look beyond the usual treasures when booking their Miami-bound clients. “We have two national parks, a monkey jungle, a coral castle and so many local establishments,” she says on the rich product diversity.

For local favourites, try a family-run fruit stand, ‘Robert is Here’ known for milkshakes made from exotic fruits.

Or head to the Everglades National Park and try an airboat ride for true critter spotting.

Camp in the wilds at Biscayne National Park and take a houseboat down the river. At the mostly underwater park that basically begins where Miami ends, clients can try other pastimes: scuba diving in search of shipwrecks, fishing, and more wild life viewing.

Ana Breuer, sales and marketing manager with Miami Thriller Speed Boat Adventures, divulges being the only company in Miami to offer speedboat sightseeing tours to the ocean.  The 36-pax Thriller boat can have clients channel their inner Miami-Vice moments. The company, she adds, is extending its larger 85-pax boat experience which will offer a complete 180-degree spin in the revered Miami waters.

Cruising Miami

The Cruise Capital of the World, the Port of Miami, continues to expand. Watch for the jaw-dropping mega-ship arrival of the Symphony of the Seas in November. “We had to have a brand new terminal to accommodate this new ship,” says Stilmann.

For clients considering the popular Caribbean cruise, one travel insider recommends arriving 2-3 days prior to the sail date to avoid any unforeseeable travel snags.

Miami partner Vanessa Belmonte, complex sales coordinator with Doral Hotels (Aloft Miami Doral and Element Miami Doral), offers free transport such as to/from the airport and to the malls. “You can shop a little then go on the cruise,” she suggests.

Transat's Robert Reed, director of national accounts, explained Transat has a variety of cruise itineraries from Miami with many big sellers.

Sunwing will make it easier this winter. Starting in December the carrier will have direct non-stop YYZ-MIA service 10 times a week. 

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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