Palm Beach County Convention & Visitors Bureau kicks off Travel Rally Day in Downtown Boca
By: Guadalupe Monarrez
Boca Raton, FL- On Tuesday May 8th, the Palm Beach County Convention & Visitors Bureau kicked off Travel Rally Day in Downtown Boca at Mizner Park. In celebration of the U.S Travel Association’s National Travel and Tourism Week, a rally was held at the center fountain in Plaza Real to promote the message that travel matters.
Tourism has a tremendous impact on the economy of Palm Beach County. In 2011, nearly 5 million visitors generated 5 billion dollars for the local economy, each visitor contributing 1,100 dollars. Also, tourism creates many jobs within the community that cannot be outsourced. Nearly 44,600 jobs in Palm Beach County are supported by tourism, while every 100 visitors creates one job.
Matthew B. Farmer, performer for the Delray Beach Arts Garage, kicked off the rally by singing two songs for the public. Following his performance, Fred Astaire’s dance studio entertained the crowd by teaching them the official “Downtown Boca Bop” line dance.
Boca Raton mayor, Susan Whelchel, welcomed the crowd by conducting the opening remarks. She addressed the exciting tourism experiences offered by the city of Boca Raton.
“Just look around you and see what organizations we have that came out this morning to show off what all Greater Boca Raton and Downtown Boca brings to the tourism table. From our historical and cultural attractions, including our museums, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, our newly revitalized Downtown Boca’s Mizner Park and Royal Palm Place, and our new pedestrian promenade that connects our Downtown Boca community to welcome visitors,” said mayor Whelchel.
Boca Raton City Council member and Community Redevelopment Agency chair, Constance Scott, was also in attendance as she explained the importance of the Downtown Boca area for tourism.
“We encourage visitors to come early and stay late, to explore and experience all there is to see and do in a walkable, pet-friendly Downtown Boca where “it’s happening!” for all generations, from young professionals, families, and couples to seniors,” said Scott.
After concluding her remarks, Scott helped to roll out the Downtown Boca “Welcome Mat,” which is a pledge of the Downtown Boca spirit and hospitality to all who visit the area.
Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau, acknowledged how the public have a significant role in contributing to the economy.
“Today we are celebrating the significance every individual in our community contributes to the destination’s tourism identity and thanking each for their hard work and contribution to our economy. By rallying together today, we are emphasizing the importance of travel in this county, state, and country, and reinforcing our significance to policymakers during this election season,” expressed Pesquera.
The National Travel & Tourism Week Travel Rally showcased a sampling of Boca Raton’s tourism drivers, as various organizations were in attendance. They included, Allianz Championship(A PGA Champions Tour Tournament), the Boca Raton Children’s Museum, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Ballet Theatre, Florida Atlantic University Athletics and Department of Theatre & Dance, Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Lynn University, and Palm Breeze Charters.
Ryan Dillon, tournament director of Allianz Championship, explained how the PGA tour has a large impact on tourism for Boca Raton.
“The tour showcases what we have in Boca Raton. It books 2,700 hotel room nights for the city. It is a televised event, expanding to over 180 countries. All net proceeds, including local and charity dollars, are given to the Boca Raton Regional Hospital,” said Dillon.
These organizations also provided tourism experiences that would be raffled off to determine the winners. Allianz Championship provided two executive skybox tickets to the 2013 Allianz Championship, FAU Athletics provided four tickets to any FAU 2012 regular season home football game, the Palm Beach Charters provided a gift certificate for two, and many more.
The goal of the National Travel & Tourism Week is to celebrate the tremendous contribution the tourism industry has locally and nationally, while recognizing that a healthy tourism industry impacts the quality of life for every individual.