Phase one of the initiative is an immediate request for donations to the American Red Cross, through a dedicated account. The GMCVB will match all employee donations to the American Red Cross dollar-per-dollar and is calling on tourism industry members to donate to the dedicated account. The second phase is in partnership with The Greater Miami and The Beaches Hotel Association (GMBHA) and will roll out later this month with the launch of two special programs as part of "Miami Tourism Cares Month." Miami hotels will encourage their guests to "Add-On, Add-Up" by asking at check-in if the guests would like to make an optional donation in various amounts that would be added to their hotel bill. Hotels can also donate rooms to rescue workers, evacuated expatriates, and families of those receiving medical care in Miami through the "Be a Knight, Give a Night" program.
Still in development, phase three will be a coordinated, long-term effort to allow Miami hotels to provide non-monetary, but much-needed, items throughout 2010 and beyond. Proposed programs include "Linens and Things," where accommodation providers can donate linens, pillows, mattresses and other soft goods as these items are changed out. GMCVB will also encourage tourists to pack a few extra articles of clothing to donate and drop off at collection points within participating hotels through the "Pack Heavy, Leave Light" plan.--Tanya Irwin