With the looming shadow of the dreaded fiscal cliff and everyone’s ongoing gripes about the economy, it’s nice to hear from the people who know best that Palm Beach County tourism is doing very well, thank you very much. At the 2013 Marketing and Sales Plan Presentation last night by the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau, good numbers were flying off the shelves faster than iphone5s. Five million visitors annually to Palm Beach County, with $5 billion in total economic impact. Tourism accounting for 45,000 jobs here, generating $836 million in federal, state and local taxes.
And things are just getting better, with luxury domestic travel one of the top five luxury expenditures projected for 2013, perhaps out of the general unease about the European debt situation. And luxury travel means us.
Hotel occupancy and tourism has been trending steadily up over the past couple of years. Our fearless leader Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau, detailed the high points of the past year from a new Hyatt in Delray to plans for a convention center hotel in downtown West Palm to a debate at Lynn University that put Palm Beach County on the map—in a good way. As he extolled all the awards and new developments throughout the county, he mentioned Delray being designated Most Fun Small Town in America by Rand-McNally. In fact, he said Delray should be the template for all cities in the county, and commended it for its unmitigated success as a visitor destination.
The mood at the meeting was upbeat and the theme was “The Best is Yet To Come.”
We could not agree more. Just another reminder that despite the recent Great Recession, you can’t keep South Florida down—and the rest of the country knows it. And us? We’re the lucky ones who get to live here. One more reason to feel good about things.