Palm Beach County, Florida Sees Record 2.3 Million Visitors in First Quarter 2017, Up 7 Percent from 2016
Arlene Satchell | Sun Sentinel | May 19, 2017 1:00am
May 19--A record 2.3 million tourists flocked to Palm Beach County during the first quarter of this year as many visitors responded to an intensified marketing campaign, its tourism agency declared Thursday. The surge was good for a year-over-year increase of 7 percent.
That compares with 2.15 million tourists who visited in same period of 2016, according to the agency, Discover The Palm Beaches.
The county's milestone follows Monday's announcement from Gov. Rick Scott that the state of Florida also enjoyed record tourism between January and March, welcoming 31.1 million visitors, up 2.5 percent from a year ago.
The state's new visitation record marked the highest quarterly performance in its history, based on estimates from Visit Florida, its official tourism marketing corporation.
During the quarter, domestic visitors to Palm Beach County, (excluding those from other parts of Florida) grew by 8.4 percent, with key markets like New York, Baltimore/Washington, D.C., and Chicago helping to drive most of the gains, Discover said.
Meanwhile, in-state visitation overall grew 7.1 percent with notable increases from Tampa, Jacksonville and Sarasota.
"We're pleased to see the double-digit increases in visitation from areas we've targeted through our marketing efforts -- New York, Baltimore/D.C., Chicago, Tampa and Jacksonville," said Jorge Pesquera, Discover's president and CEO, in a news release. "This is further proof that tourism marketing works, and that our strategic marketing efforts targeting leisure travelers and convention business planners, as well as earned public relations exposure, are resonating in markets around the country."
As for hotel bookings, the number of room nights sold during the first quarter rose 3.6 percent from the 2016 period, Discover said.
In 2016, the county welcomed a record 7.35 million visitors, up 5.8 percent from 2015, according to Discover's records.
Broward County has yet to compile its final first quarter visitation numbers, a spokeswoman for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau said Thursday. However, preliminary data show 12.27 million domestic and one million international visitors, excluding Canadians, came to Broward in 2016.
In Miami-Dade County, 15.8 million tourists visited overall in 2016, according to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Palm Beach County is encouraged by its momentum.
"We're cautiously optimistic that this is an indicator that we will see a continuation of the trend of increasing visitation for the eighth year," Pesquera said.
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