WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (February 15, 2017) – Discover The Palm Beaches (DTPB), the official tourism marketing corporation for Palm Beach County, has announced record-breaking visitation numbers for 2016. DTPB’s year-end hotel performance dashboard data shows a higher-than-forecasted 7.35 million visitors came to The Palm Beaches from January to December, which is a 5.8% visitation increase over 2015.
“We had a historic number of visitors come to The Palm Beaches in 2016, a remarkable eight years in a row of visitation growth since the Great Recession,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO for DPTB. “This is powerful testimony that tourism marketing works.”
The total increase in visitation was driven by a 7% increase in domestic visitors (United States), and a 7.3% increase in Florida-based visitors, compared to 2015. The largest domestic growth markets were New York with a 5% increase, Miami/Fort Lauderdale with an 11% increase, and Orlando with a 9% increase in visitors. Most of the visitors to The Palm Beaches (6.6 million) were domestic, while 739,000 visitors came from international regions including Canada, Western Europe and Latin America. The number of hotel room nights sold, 4.4 million, was a 2.3% increase over the previous year.
“These numbers validate our targeted marketing focus in cities like New York, Washington DC, Orlando, and Miami. They also show the increasing importance of meeting and convention sales, as well as sports events, to fill the occupancy gaps in summer and fall,” Pesquera continued. “Tourism is Palm Beach County’s number one non-agricultural industry, so it’s more important than ever that we continue to promote and sell this destination.”
In December, DTPB deployed a strategic promotional effort in key markets, such as New York and Miami, which contributed to strong visitation from those areas. The original number of visitors DTPB was projecting for 2016, 7.2 million, ended up being boosted by December’s visitation increase. That brought the record-high total of visitors to 7.35 million for the entire year.
“Thanks to our tourism partners and sister Tourism Development Council agencies in Sports, Culture, and Film/TV, as well as our continued refinement of tourism marketing strategies, we’re able to attract more visitors than ever before,” Pesquera said. “This allows us to deliver on our brand promise that The Palm Beaches are the best way to experience and meet in Florida.”
“Our future success is critically dependent on Florida remaining competitive against global destinations, many of which have greater resources for tourism marketing,” Pesquera said. “Now, more than ever, Discover The Palm Beaches stands firm in our support of VISIT FLORIDA. The local tourism industry provides jobs for more than 66,000 people, and everyone, from citizens to public services and local businesses, wins when you invest in strong destination marketing.”
About Discover The Palm Beaches
Discover The Palm Beaches, formerly the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau, is the official tourism marketing corporation that promotes the collection of 39 cities and towns and 15 tourism districts spanning more than 2,200 square miles and 47 miles of pristine beaches from Boca Raton to Jupiter and Tequesta, commonly referred to as “The Palm Beaches.” Tourism is among Palm Beach County’s major industries, generating $4.55 billion in direct visitor spending and supporting more than 60,000 jobs. Once recognized as a tropical escape for elite travelers in the late 1800s, America’s First Resort Destination® is making its resurgence as The Best Way To Experience Florida®, welcoming a record-breaking 6.9 million people in 2015. The Palm Beaches are home to nearly 17,000 hotel rooms, ranging from historic resorts to boutique inns. The destination features more than 100 family-friendly attractions, world-class luxury and antique shopping experiences, 125 miles of peaceful waterways for on- or in-the-water activities, more than 150 artificial reefs that line the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf Stream current, 160 golf courses, award-winning restaurants, and a thriving entertainment scene boasting more than 200 art and culture organizations. For more information about The Palm Beaches, visit www.ThePalmBeaches.com and connect on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @PalmBeachesFL, YouTube at Discover The Palm Beaches and the hashtag, #ThePalmBeaches.