Florida tourism is on the rebound as the state welcomed more tourists in 2011 than in the previous year, and Palm Beach County saw an even larger increase in its annual visitors. The Palm Beach Post reported on this recent rise in tourism that appears to be continuing into 2012.
Tourism is the state’s top industry, generating nearly a quarter of its sales tax revenue and employing more than 1 million people. Given its widespread importance, this comes as welcome news after so many tourist-related businesses faced myriad challenges during the recent recession.
According to officials from Visit Florida, 85.9 million visitors came to Florida in 2011. This was a 4.4 percent increase over 2010 and a notable jump over the previous record of 84.5 million visitors in 2007. While the state experienced a rise in tourism, Palm Beach County also saw its hospitality industry soar.
“We are definitely on the upswing,” said Roger Amidon, executive director of the Palm Beach County Tourism Development Council. In fact, Palm Beach reported that its occupancy rate grew 5.3 percent over the previous year to reach 65 percent in 2011. It also saw the average daily hotel room rate rise 6.3 percent to $133.86. “The luxury tier market is back and is confident and is coming back to this beautiful area.”
Palm Beach County’s luxury hospitality market was hit especially hard by the recession, but the market appears to be back on the growth track. Ann Margo Peart, spokeswoman for The Breakers in Palm Beach, reported that the upscale resort is meeting “our strong projections.”
Now that tourism is regaining its strength on both the state and county levels, the hospitality industry is focusing on the future and striving to rebuild itself to be bigger and better than ever.
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Read more at the Palm Beach Post.com.