REPORT: Space Coast, Palm Bay Enjoy Big Boost In 2014 Tourism
By Yvonne Martinez, City of Palm Bay // May 3, 2015
figures released by VISIT FLORIDA
BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA — The governor’s office announced that according to revised preliminary 2014 visitation figures released by VISIT FLORIDA, 98.9 million visitors came to Florida last year.
The number represents a 5.1 percent increase over the previous high of 93.7 million in 2013 and marks the second largest year-over-year visitor increase Florida has experienced in a decade.
In Palm Bay and throughout the Space Coast the trend was also positive.
Palm Bay saw its hotel occupancy rate climb about 12 percent in 2014 with revenues up nearly 20 percent.
That compares to an increase of 7.9 percent occupancy for the entire Space Coast.
The trend has continued into 2015 with a very positive first quarter.
Palm Bay hotels were up 4.6 percent with hotel revenues increasing nearly 24 percent year to date.
In March alone hotel revenue increased nearly 25 percent with an occupancy rate of 80 percent.
“Overall the Space Coast is up 21 percent in hotel revenue year to date,” said Eric Garvey, executive director of Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism.
Local hoteliers credit many factors for the positive numbers including affordable fuel prices, lower air fares and the fact that Central Florida is still the number one tourist destination.
“Our hotels are clean. We are close to the beach and major attractions,” said Puneet Kapur, general manager of the Holiday Inn Express on Malabar Road.
“We have great fishing, great weather and great people.”
Kapur saw an average of nearly 90 percent occupancy throughout the year and 98.2 percent occupancy so far in 2015 at his 84-room hotel.
“This is great news and we are hopeful the numbers will continue to climb,” said Mayor William Capote.
“Tourism is so important for our region and I’m so proud that Palm Bay is fast becoming a destination city.”
These numbers have been revised since governor’s previous announcement in February.
VISIT FLORIDA anticipates two more revisions based on the receipt of additional data before the figure becomes final in the fall.