By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – On Wednesday, January 20th, the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches’ will host another session of the recently formed Tourism Task Force. The webinar is open by invitation only, and aims to bring together tourism industry businesses and leaders in Palm Beach County.
Given the coronavirus’ impact on tourism worldwide, the need for a Task Force to support this sector of Florida’s economy is clear. The task force organizers aim to gather information on issues and challenges, brainstorm and implement solutions, as well as provide a portal for information, partnerships and community participation.
For this session, some of the participants will be: George Linley, Executive Director of The Palm Beach County Sports Commission, Jorge Pesquera, President and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches and Dana Young, President & CEO of Visit Florida.
Kelly Fanelli, a director at the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches’ shared, “No question that the entire hospitality and tourism industry has been deeply affected by the pandemic and has had a difficult time adapting.”
Adding, “Restaurants, hotels and attractions have had to deal with a sudden and dramatic loss of business, changing guidelines, regulations and public perception.”
Fanelli explains that those who were able to pivot to alternative ways to serve their clients, such as delivery and take-out and virtual tours and presentations, have been most able to sustain themselves and their staffs.
Also, “Virtual platforms can provide larger audiences and easy access. Many tourism businesses able to operate in that space have grown and flourished,” she said.
From July to December 2020, the Tourism Task Force has hosted ten meetings, welcomed twelve speakers, and registered 105 attendees.
The Honda Classic, a professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour, has taken part and plans to move forward with the event on March 15 – 21st. “The Honda Classic is proud to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches Tourism Task Force,” said Bryce Sartory, manager of corporate partnerships, the Honda Classic.
“As South Florida’s only PGA TOUR event, we have patrons come from as close as West Palm Beach to as far away as New York City. Ensuring our local tourism industry bounces back stronger than ever is a top priority.”
Christine DeMichael, director of marketing and communications, Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society, also shared “The Chamber Tourism Task Force is a great opportunity to share with and learn from others in the tourism industry in Palm Beach County.”
Adding, “We are all faced with similar challenges in this ever-evolving situation. It is great to have guidance from other area tourism industry peers on the unforeseen pitfalls and ultimate successes they have experienced during this time.”
Kelly Fanelli explained that “During the initial meetings, we gathered information on the challenges of the group and provided a collaborative platform for problem solving. Over the next several months, we brought in industry leaders to bring the group timely and accurate information on the current status of some important infrastructure critical to tourism.”
“The January 20th meeting will bring back some of those industry leaders, include some new ones and give the group an update on their current operations and what to expect in the future. Our presenters will also hear from our attendees about their thoughts, concerns and suggestions. It’s a win-win for everyone!”
The Tourism Task Force takes place Wednesday, January 20th, 10AM – 11AM EST and is by invite only. To be a part of this event contact Kirby Davis at (561) 833-3894 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.