Game plan to boost tourism, business meetings

Photo by Michael Pike

Hotels are already on a comeback. And the Boca Resort and other planned hotels downtown are part of plans to attract more tourists, meetings and conventions.

“We’re building our way back up; March was up to 75% occupancy,” reported Jorge Pesquera, CEO of Discover the Palm Beaches, the state’s marketing agency.

Renovations at the Boca Resort are expected to help grow the meeting and convention business, he added.

A video showcasing Mizner Park and the Boca Resort unveiled the agency’s new marketing campaign based on travelers taking advantage of Florida’s warm weather for 125 years: “The Original. The One. The Only. The Palm Beaches.”

“We’re partnered with the airlines, tour operators and VISIT Florida,” Pesquera said about the state’s travel, tourism and vacation site

Here’s highlights of his and staff remarks to Boca Chamber’s recent  International Business Alliance virtual meeting. Hosted by Chamber v.p. Sarah Pearson and Lynn’s Barbara Cambia, the luncheon is usually held in the Wold Performing Arts Center on Lynn University’s Boca campus.

  • Tourism accounts for 12% of Palm Beach County’s economy;
  • Visitors doubled from 4 million to 8.2 million between 2010 and 2019;
  • International travel is the last to recover and recovery is happening sooner than expected;
  • Two nights of a two-week trip through Florida include Miami and Orlando, are held in the Palm Beaches;
  • International travel depends on monetary exchange rates;
  • Canada, Brazil, the UK, Argentina, Colombia, Germany and Mexico top sources of international tourism;
  • More than 60% surveyed intend to travel here in 2021 or 2022. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand,” Pesquera said.
  • Off-season Florida residents rates and staycation promotions played a part in hotel occupancy last summer.


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