South Florida sees tourism bump during 4th of July holiday weekend, travelers fill up hotels, shops

Travelocity ranks area 4th in holiday destination

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- - The 4th of July holiday is bringing fireworks and a bang to the local economy in South Florida as it becomes an Independence Day hot spot among travelers.

Travel website Travelocity.com ranking South Florida, including Palm Beach County, the 4th most popular destination for Independence Day.

It was the waves, sun and sand that drew Michael Cloutier and his family to Palm Beach from their New Jersey home.

"I can't even compare Florida to New Jersey," said Cloutier, "The beach is always absolutely pristine. The people down here are always pleasant and polite. The restaurants, city place, fantastic. And on top of it a great fireworks display."

But the beach is not the only place that was crowded on the 4th of July.

Hotels are also seeing a lot more people. Managers at the West Palm Beach Marriot Hotel said occupancy was up 15-to-20% during the holiday weekend.

"It's just a little bonus kicker we get. The season usually wraps up around May," said Cliff Keene, manager at the Marriot Hotel.

Keene said with the 4th of July holiday falling on a Thursday, it gives them a "second wind" with many people making it a four-day weekend.

Cloutier said this is the second year he and his family have traveled to South Florida and it will not be the last.

"We're sold on it. We'll be out here every 4th as long as I can plan it and as long as I can afford it," said Cloutier.

Restaurants along Clematis Street in West Palm Beach also reported similar bumps in sales during the holiday.

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