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VISIT FLORIDA Honors Arthur Hertz’s Contributions to the Tourism Industry

By on May 5th, 2017 — 1:36pm

arthurhertzToday the Florida tourism industry mourns the passing of one of its greatest leaders.  Arthur Hertz was a pioneer in local and state tourism development, including serving as Vice Chairman of the Florida Commission on Tourism and was part of the team that led to the formation of VISIT FLORIDA.  Arthur served as VISIT FLORIDA’s Chairman of the Board of Directors in 1998-1999, was inducted into the Florida Tourism Hall of Fame in 2004 and continued his service as a member of the Florida Council of Tourism Leaders.  

Arthur was a pillar of the Miami community.  He spent five decades with Wometco Enterprises – a Coral Gables-based company that operated movie theaters, television stations, cable TV systems, vending machine and soft drink bottling entities, Baskin-Robbins/Dunkin’ Donuts stores, as well as Miami Seaquarium.  Arthur joined Wometco in 1956 as an accountant, was appointed controller in 1960, elected vice president in 1964, promoted to senior vice president then elected to director in 1971, elected executive vice president and treasurer in 1981, COO in 1983 and was currently serving as chairman, CEO and a controlling shareholder.  When the company was broken up years later, he decided to keep the Seaquarium, which, following its sale in 2014, continues to be run by his son Andrew.  The Seaquarium was the filming location for nearly 90 episodes of the wildly popular 1960’s TV series “Flipper.”

In addition to his stellar business career, Arthur was dedicated to the betterment of his community.  He had previously served on the National Association of Theater Owners of Florida Executive Committee and the Jackson Memorial Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, was past chairman of the Dade County Educational Facility Board and the Dade County Public Health Trust, was a former member of the Florida Motion Picture and Television Industry Council and the National Audubon Society.  He was currently serving on numerous community professional organizations and foundations, including the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Foundation, the University of Miami’s Board of Trustees, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, the City of Miami Off-Street Parking Authority, the Orange Bowl Committee and the Miami City Club.

Arthur was also the recipient of numerous awards and accolades.  In 2007, he was given the Tourism Professional of the Year award from Miami’s Academy of Hospitality and Tourism.  In 2012, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce presented him with The Henry M. Flagler Award for Visionary Leadership. The same year, he was awarded the Meritorious Inn Key Award by the Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association.  On April 24, just a few weeks before his death, Arthur was honored by the Miami Parking Authority and the Miami City Commission with the naming of Southwest 16th Street, between 32nd and 37th avenues, Arthur H. Hertz Way.

While we are saddened by his death, we are proud to honor his many accomplishments and thank Arthur most especially for his vision, dedication and leadership that has been so instrumental in helping the Florida tourism industry become the world-wide leader it is today.

Ken Lawson
President & CEO
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