Palm Beach County tourism industry on pace for a record-breaking year

A record 7.2 million tourists are expected to visit Palm Beach County this year, breaking last year’s high of 6.9 million visitors, according to Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s official tourism marketing organization.

A plane comes in for a landing at Miami International Airport. (Getty Images)
A plane comes in for a landing at Miami International Airport. (Getty Images)

The record tourism level comes on the heels of a difficult year for the state’s tourism industry, which includes a Zika outbreak in Miami-Dade County, the worst mass public shooting in recent U.S. history at an Orlando nightclub, and the alligator attack that killed a toddler at the Walt Disney World resort.

In Palm Beach County, tourism leaders went into crisis mode in July as news reports circled throughout the world that blue-green algae had blanketed South Florida beaches.  While algae blooms temporarily closed several Treasure Coast beaches, there was little impact in Palm Beach County.

But the headlines have had little effect on the county’s hotel occupancy levels.

The countywide hotel occupancy level stood at 73 percent in November, up 1.6 percent over last year. Meanwhile, the number of nightly hotel room bookings grew by 3.7 percent last month when compared to Nov. 2015, Discover said.

County tourism leaders said plummeting temperatures in the northeast, the rise of sports tourism, and a record year at the county’s convention center have helped drive tourism here.

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