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According to recent data released by the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), trade through the County’s two economic engines, Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami, continued to grow at a rapid pace in August, and trade overall is experiencing a solid recovery from a dismal year in 2009. Compared to August 2009, imports at the Seaport grew by 17.4% while exports were up 12.6%. Imports through the Airport grew an impressive 47.7% and exports increased by 26.7%.

Total exports for Miami-Dade County grew by 23.4% in August 2010, while imports grew a whopping 33.6% when compared to August 2009 figures. The largest regional source of imports came from Central America which grew 47% year over year. South America dominated Miami-Dade exports, accounting for 55% of total exports, an increase of 24.6% compared to 2009. Brazil, the County’s top overall trading partner for several years now, was by far the largest export country with over $953 million in exports alone in August 2010, with Switzerland coming in at 2nd place at $433 million.

The Broward County Board of County Commissioners has reached an agreement and finalized the Fiscal Year 2011 budget. The property tax millage rate is set at 5.553.

For the majority of Broward County homeowners (65 percent) that means a reduction in the county portion of the property tax bill of approximately $147. The average homeowner with the Save Our Home Differential (35 percent) will see an increase in the County portion of their property tax bill of about $40 total for the year. Since 2007, Broward Commissioners have made more than $220 million in budget cuts. For more than a decade the property tax millage rate in Broward County has been reduced or remained the same.

Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler changed her vote and broke the deadlock that had stalled passage of the FY 2011 budget, but only after building consensus for additional budget cuts that she had brought forward totaling just under $6 million. Commissioners were previously deadlocked with a 4-4 vote that prevented the final passage of a budget.

Caribbean and Latin American hotels remained steady for the first half of 2010 as Hotels.com®, the largest provider of lodging worldwide, released their biannual Hotel Price Index™ (HPITM). This year's HPI unveiled a global 2% increase in average hotel room rates for the first time since the end of 2007. Despite this worldwide increase, hotel room rates in the Caribbean and Latin America rose less than 1% versus the previous HPI report.

Cancun experienced one of the greatest average hotel price reductions in 2010, dropping to an average rate of $171 per night - a -6% change from its $182 average nightly room rate six months prior. Cancun proved to be among the declining minority, as prices in such popular Latin American and Caribbean destinations as Rio de Janiero (+12%), Nassau (+14%), Sao Paulo (+7%) and Buenos Aires (+5%) all posted an increase in respective hotel rates over the same six-month period.

The Port of Miami kicks off its 2010-2011 cruise season this month with four new ships in the line-up and more reasons than ever why cruising out of Miami is the best bet for travelers heading to the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico and other exciting destinations.

The new vessels include Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic, one of the largest and most modern ships on the seas today. The Norwegian Epic arrived at its Miami homeport this summer and has been hailed as one of the most exciting new additions to the Port of Miami fleet with its innovative style of cruising and high-end Vegas-type entertainment with seven-day itineraries to the Eastern and Western Caribbean.

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