Tourists visiting Palm Beach County spent $4.6 billion here last year, up 1 percent over 2015’s level, according to Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s official tourism marketing organization.
Although spending among Canadian visitors was down 12 percent, there was a strong increase from domestic travelers and Florida residents who visited the county, Discover said.
Food and beverage sales, lodging, and recreational activities saw the biggest increases, the tourism group said.
Tourism is among Palm Beach County’s largest industries, supporting more than 66,000 jobs here.
“For approximately 100 visitors to The Palm Beaches, one new job is supported,” said Rich Basen, Discover’s senior vice president of marketing and leisure sales. “Having more visitors means the destination has an increased overall economic benefit. It’s exciting to see increased visitation and visitor spending as result of our strategic tourism marketing efforts.”
Discover officials say 2017 is off to a strong start.
The county’s hotel occupancy rate hit 87.5 percent in February — the highest in the state, according to the tourism group said.
Hotel occupancy for the month of March is on pace to reach a record level of 89 percent which was set in 2005.
“As the tourism marketing landscape continues to change, we’ve worked to evolve and claim an even greater market share,” Basen said. “The increase in the number of visitors here proves our strategies are paying off, which, in turn, continues to spur more economic growth for Palm Beach County.”