Discover The Palm Beaches (DTPB), the not-for-profit tourism marketing organization for Palm Beach County, has released data that shows visitation increases, year-over-year, for the first quarter of 2018: 2.36 million visitors, a 2.5 percent increase over the same time period in the previous year. In 2017, 2.3 million visitors arrived during the first quarter.
Visitor growth was strongest among international travelers, growing 2.9 percent to 247,000, with exchange rates becoming more favorable. Visitation from Canada grew three percent to 138,500 visitors, the UK grew seven percent to 10,200 visitors, Brazil grew eight percent to 8,100 visitors, and Colombia grew nine percent to 5,000 visitors. Domestic visitation was up 2.4 percent, with most markets growing between two and five percent. Within Florida, visitation from Orlando grew 16 percent, significantly higher growth than any other Florida market, which collectively grew 2.6 percent.
“Once again, we’re making history,” explained Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO for DTPB. “We’re optimistic that this is an early indicator that we are poised to achieve nine years in a row of increasing visitation. The steady growth in visitors is proof that more people are increasingly aware of our one-of-a-kind destination as we, at Discover The Palm Beaches, continue to promote it as the best way to experience Florida.”
Tourism is the second leading economic driver for The Palm Beaches behind agriculture. In 2017, 7.89 million visitors spent a record-high $4.7 billion in the destination. Each time visitors eat, shop or play, they help generate a significant share of state and local tax revenues. These revenues help pay for essential services such as such as public safety, education, health care and infrastructure. This is especially important in a state like Florida that has no personal income tax to help cover these costs.
“These rising numbers represent a reality that many residents may not be aware of: tourism is a vital economic engine for Palm Beach County,” Pesquera said. “The tourism industry employs 70,000 people, and impacts jobs and business activity through every depth of our economy beyond hospitality. For this reason, Discover The Palm Beaches, in collaboration with its Tourist Development Council sister-agencies in Sports, Culture, and Film/TV, continues to refine our strategic goals, expand our local partnerships and alliances, and deploy cutting-edge marketing and sales strategies. All of this is in pursuit of a singular vision: to promote The Palm Beaches as Florida’s premier travel destination.”