Palm Beach County beaches and "wide open spaces" play a central role in the tourism council's marketing plan. via WPEC

FL - Palm Beach County's Plan to Get Tourists Back

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — The tourism industry plays an important role in Palm Beach County's economy, accounting for more than 70,000 jobs and billions of dollars. It's an industry that's been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

While the COVID-19 crisis continues, the county's Tourism Development Council (TDC) is working on ways to convince travelers that Palm Beach County is a safe place to visit and recreate.

The goal is to increase hotel occupancy, which bottomed out in April.

"We want people to know this is where you can find wide-open spaces and social distance appropriately," said Executive Director Glenn Jergensen in a presentation to county commissioners this week.

Commissioners voted unanimously to give the Tourism Development Council $6.5 million for a marketing campaign to encourage visitors to return.

The marketing campaign will highlight how the area has ample opportunities to enjoy beaches, golf, equestrian, diving, and other outdoor activities.

Jergensen stressed the promotion will roll out in phases and said the first stage will focus on locals and "staycations," then they will promote the Palm Beaches to those within driving distance.

In the winter, if COVID cases are continuing to decline and health metrics allow, the plan is to target to people in key fly markets like Boston, New York City, and Washington D.C.

By 2021, the TDC will be targeting the leisure travel market again.

"We are ready to welcome you with open palms, as we said, instead of arms," said Jergensen. "We are here, and when you're ready, we're ready."

Of the $6.5 million going to the marketing campaign, $2 million is being taken from the county's beach maintenance and re-nourishment program.

Read more.