International tourists visit Treasure Coast, lured by travel websites

VERO BEACH, Fla. - Tourism dollars remain one of the nation's strongest sources of revenue, according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Wednesday.

Greg Bracken, manager of Maison Martinique, a restaurant connected to the Caribbean Boutique Hotel in Vero Beach, agrees wholeheartedly.

"We have stayed busy this year, all year," he said.

He said the local economy can be slow during certain times of the year, so international tourism is critical.

"People are coming from foreign countries, and looking to entertain themselves, and we're trying to pick up those tourism dollars," he explained.

However, he points out the way the tourists are learning about his restaurant has changed dramatically.

"We think they're looking on the internet at a lot of the restaurant and hotel guides that are rating restaurants and hotels in small towns," said Bracken.

Tiffany Ellison, event coordinator for the boutique hotel, said the majority of their rooms are filled with guests from overseas.

"We get a lot of people from London, and Germany," she said.

Ellison said outside of "the season," their revenue remains steady because of the internet.

"We ask all of our guests how they found us, and it's either online or Trip Advisor," she said.

Bracken said while good old-fashioned hospitality never goes out of style, it's the modern technology he can thank for the business flow.

"These people are coming over and using handy smart phones or laptops, and looking for the best places in small towns in Florida, and then coming to visit us," he said.

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