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Tourism leaders push for larger convention center

Posted at 8:12 PM, Jan 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-23 20:12:44-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — It's change tourism leaders say could bring in billions of dollars to our economy.

"We are turning business away," Jorge Pesquera said.

Pesquera is the President of Discover the Palm Beaches. He says the number of companies looking to book conventions here in Palm Beach County.

"We booked 231,000 room nights this past year," he said. "That's millions and millions of economic impact to the county."

A 98 percent increase in room nights booked compared to 2014. He credits the success to additions to his group sales team.

"The arrival of the Hilton West Palm Beach connected to the convention center really was a game changer," Pesquera said

He along with other tourism leaders say now more than ever is the time to expand to Palm Beach County will be able to compete with other convention destinations in the state. Bringing more jobs and business to the area.

"This is something that would benefit the entire county," he said.

But a word of the expansion has some downtown residents concerned about traffic.

"Part of what we need as more people and more hotels come here is better transportation options," Joseph Roskowski said.

Roskowski plans to be apart of the conversation.

"I think there might be a conflicting interest between the downtown residents and what the county wants," he said.

The Palm Beach County Convention Center is around 350,000 square feet whereas the Broward County Convention Center is 650,00 square feet.