Deede Weithorn mounts a spirited defense of Miami Beach’s Commissioners—she herself is one—who have been re-negotiating their contract with ArtBasel while being accused by the local paper of taking junkets to Switzerland:
The statistics are staggering: $500 million of sorely needed, yearly, pre-season economic activity for South Florida. Spending from Art Basel ripples throughout the region as a result of this show.
You can then imagine my shock and dismay at reading a June 10 article in The Miami Herald characterizing Miami Beach’s efforts in working with the Basel management team — five years of management collaboration trips to Art Basel — as “junkets.” […]
The article points to five years of expenditures totaling $86,424.59 by Miami Beach administration and elected officials when traveling back and forth to Basel. When averaged over five years, this comes to $17,284.92 a year, not a lot of money when considering the diminishing buying power of the dollar in relation to the Swiss franc.
During that time, Art Basel has conservatively generated more than $2 billion (yes, that’s with a B) in economic activity from the 200,000-plus show attendees. That amounts to a return of $23,141 for every dollar spent. After delivering a spectacular return on investment against a strong European currency, I wish other things we could do as a city could generate that kind of a success.
Even Wall Street has taken notice of our success. While many other cities have had their bond ratings lowered, Standard & Poor’s has blessed our city by increasing our bond rating and saving Miami Beach residents millions of dollars over the long-term.
ArtBasel Trip Is Not a Junket (MiamiHerald.com)