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Friday,  April 12, 2024 8:02 PM 

The Palm Beaches set to break visitation records again in 2023

The Palm Beaches set to break visitation records again in 2023
From left: Naomi Rogers, Leanne Toushan, Paul Larcher, Carolyn Kremer & Cathy Davis visit the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, Florida in June 2023. (Pax Global Media)
Pax Global Media

The Palm Beaches, a county of 39 unique cities in South Florida – from Jupiter in the north to Boca Raton in the south – is expecting to break visitation records again in 2023, according to the destination’s marketing organization, Discover The Palm Beaches (DTPB).

Insights were shared at a recent State of the Tourism industry event, “Aspire. Transform. Collaborate,” on Dec. 8 for tourism partners and community stakeholders at The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida.

According to a news release, The Palm Beaches are on track for another record-breaking year, forecasting a total of 9.5 million visitors for 2023, and visitor spending of $7 billion with continued moderate growth expected to continue in 2024.

DTPB noted how tourism in the county contributes to 85,000+ jobs and $10 billion in economic impact.

READ MORE: On Location - Six hotels in The Palm Beaches that left us feeling relaxed, recharged & ritzy!

The Palm Beaches plan on welcoming 17 new hotels with 2,372 rooms by 2026, contributing to overall destination growth as well as providing new meeting and experience options for residents and visitors, the organization said.

Palm Beach, Florida. (Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

Of the forecasted 9.5 million visitors the destination is expecting, 810,000 are expected to be international.

On average, international visitation accounts for eight per cent of total visitation to the destination, said DTPB.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about The Palm Beaches in 2024

From January 2023 through September 2023, The Palm Beaches welcomed nearly 254,000 Canadian travellers to the destination, representing an 18.4 per cent growth from the year prior’s 214,500 Canadians and a nearly 16 per cent increase from 2019’s 219,000.

Spend for the first three quarters of 2023 achieved nearly $288M, up 2.5 per cent from $281 million in 2022 and up 22 per cent from $236 million in 2019.

Palm trees and yachts in The Palm Beaches. (Pax Global Media)

“America’s first resort destination”

The Palm Beaches are located about a half hour north of Fort Lauderdale airport, and some two-and-half hours south of Orlando and Kissimmee.

During the summer, PAX had an opportunity to visit this upscale community with an esteemed group of Ontario-based, Virtuoso-certified travel advisors.

READ MORE: On Location - “If these palms could talk”: Agents unpack history, culture (and glam) in The Palm Beaches

As previously reported, the high-end hotels in this sun-kissed coastal community can range from independent properties to well-known chains.

From left: Leanne Toushan, Naomi Rogers, Carolyn Kremer, Michael Pihach, Paul Larcher & Cathy Davis enjoy a Palm Beach yacht cruise in June courtesy of Lots of Yachts/Lots of Spots. (Pax Global Media/file photo)

And, when you’re in “America’s first resort destination” – a title given to The Palm Beaches for its role in attracting the late American industrialist Henry Morrison Flagler, who built a railroad that brought vacationing Americans from the north down to Florida in the late 1800s, spawning hotels and golf courses – you can expect some genuine hospitality.

Tourism for the future

This month’s State of the Tourism event addressed several topics, such as the current technology and data landscape, navigating metrics and artificial intelligence, as well as destination strategy, economics, sustainability and planning.

DTPB President and CEO Milton Segarra reaffirmed his commitment to lead the organization through this transition year and continue to make tourism a community shared value and economic driver for Palm Beach County.

READ MORE: Golf, Gucci, deals & diversity: more Canadians are flocking to The Palm Beaches

He outlined key focus areas for DTPB in 2024, including the tourism master plan and second headquarter-hotel in the convention center district that will reshape the destination and impact the visitor and resident experience.

The Colony Palm Beach is around the corner from Worth Avenue. (The Colony Palm Beach)

He also encouraged the greater Palm Beaches community – tourism partners, leaders, elected officials, businesses, and residents - to actively participate in the upcoming planning process for a greater overall visitor experience.

Additional updates shared included that The Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council (TDC), in collaboration with all TDC agencies, are in the final stages of selecting and announcing the consulting company that will assist in the execution of a tourism master plan.

READ MORE: Discover The Palm Beaches activates program for accessible tourism

With input from tourism partners and community members, the plan will provide a 20-year roadmap to maintain and enhance Palm Beach County, addressing tourism-related product development needs, identifying investment opportunities, establishing workforce development and diversity initiatives, and closing the gap between demand and supply for visitors, residents, and stakeholders.

Exterior of The Breakers Palm Beach. (Courtesy of The Breakers Palm Beach)

The DTPB considers a second convention centre hotel a fundamental step to position The Palm Beaches as a competitor in the mid-tier MICE market, allowing the destination to attract and accommodate larger groups and meetings.

As a result, Palm Beach County has issued a request for proposal for a second headquarter hotel in the convention centre district to create a minimum of 600 additional rooms.

DTPB noted that it will be enhancing its marketing efforts in key destinations as international travel continues to rise from Canada, the UK, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, and Germany.

DTPB also unveiled a new marketing campaign aimed at showcasing the diverse offerings available in the destination, called The Palm Beaches Collection.

The new campaign will be amplified through social media and digital channels using tools on its website, along with mobile applications and new generative AI.

What's happening in The Palm Beaches in 2024? Click here for a detailed guide of new hotels, events and attractions! 

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