In Florida, an endless struggle for the survival of the beaches

In Florida, an endless struggle for the survival of the beaches

In Florida, an endless struggle for the survival of the beaches

“Miami, more than a beach [plus qu’une plage] ! “ Dan Gelber, Democratic Mayor of Miami Beach, likes to quote the slogan, although he is careful to add it right away “But first we are a beach”. In addition, in his vast office, in addition to the photo of President Kennedy, the extent of the beach, the beaches as it were, of his municipality is shown on a large scale.

What to publish it does not show is that this important heritage of the region is threatened, and that, on the shore, the frenzy of earth-moving machines, to re-bury themselves, goes hand in hand with summer idleness some tourists. Because they are essential to the local economy. Miami remains the guaranteed souvenir photo, beach, sun, palm trees and tall glass buildings that reflect intense brightness.

Sunny Isles Beach (Florida), in April 2022. The Garcia mining company supplied the sand necessary for its filling.
Two tourists take advantage of the absence of work on Sunday, in Fort Lauderdale (Florida), on April 8, 2022.

Dan Gelber, a dynamic 60-year-old, with a properly tanned face when he has always lived in the “Sunshine State”, reigns over this “small” city of 90,000 inhabitants, when its big neighbor, Miami has 461,000. But he is mainly dealing with the tourist surge. Ten to fifteen million tourists roam its streets, and especially its beaches, every year, making the state the second most popular North American destination after New York. The ports of Florida are at the top of the world ranking for cruise ships, with proximity to the Caribbean, and three terminals: Miami, Port Canaveral and the Everglades, for a total of over twelve million passengers. Miami Beach therefore lives to the rhythm of tourism, often noisy, a mixture of kitsch, luxury, ostentation and family stays, enhanced, among other things, by the huge Disney park in Orlando.

The immense expanses of fine sand remain the primary target of tourists. “Everyone loves the beach, but we have to ask ourselves what people do when they leave it at the end of the day”Dan Gelber says again. And to praise other cards played by his city, such as hosting the Super Bowl final, an important event on the planet of American football, in 2020, or the importance of his basketball team, the Miami Heat, one of the best in the world. ‘essential NBA, the North American basketball league, but also the investment, important ensures, in culture, or even in fashion.

“The dynamics of hospitality are essential for our economy”, he insists. Even if it means regretting the region’s attractiveness to her on certain occasions, such as the spring break, this spring week when large numbers of students choose sunny destinations to go wild. And Miami is a good place. “Young people come here to get drunk, we don’t care, all the towns on the coast hate it”, assures the mayor. Peace of mind, with large numbers of retirees of all backgrounds, must remain an asset.

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