A record-breaking 7.35 million visitors came to Palm Beach County in 2016, a 5.8 increase over 2015’s level, according to county tourism officials.
The increase marks the eighth consecutive year of tourism growth in the county, according to Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s official tourism marketing organization.
“This is powerful testimony that tourism marketing works,” said Jorge Pesquera, Discover’s president and CEO.
The news comes weeks after county tourism leaders warned against cuts to Visit Florida, the statewide tourism marketing group. Local tourism officials have said the cuts could have a “negative and immediate” impact on the economy.
A bill, filed last month by members of the Florida House, would eliminate money for the tourism marketing organization and Enterprise Florida, a public-private economic development agency.
The bill won initial support last week from the House’s Careers and Competition Subcommittee, but some members said they expected changes to be made to the legislation as it makes its way through the legislative process this spring.
Visit Florida has faced mounting scrutiny since last year, when it refused to release details about its $1 million marketing contract with Miami rapper Pitbull. The controversy led to the resignation of the organization’s longtime president and CEO, Will Seccombe, who stepped down in December at the governor’s request.