NewsRegion C Palm Beach CountyWest Palm Beach

Actions

Vaccinations bringing more hope to South Florida tourism industry

Posted at 8:18 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 20:18:12-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — For the tourism industry, more vaccines mean more hope, and leaders in the industry are reacting to Gov. Ron DeSantis' announcement.

The dressing room at Palm Beach Dramaworks has sat empty for more than a year. By September, actors will be back getting ready for a new season of shows.

On Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach, one building is home to a lot of drama.

"Well, we are actually celebrating our 20th season," said Sue Ellen Beryl, the co-founder and managing director of Palm Beach Dramaworks.

One that’s been plagued by a pandemic.

Beryl said it was the kind of drama she wasn’t used to.

“We couldn’t open with maybe only 30 or 40 seats filled, we just couldn’t function in that way, plus the actors union/ actor equity wouldn’t give us contracts," Beryl said.

So, they put on virtual performances and with help from donors and the PPP loan the non-profit was able to stay afloat. Now with news of the COVID-19 vaccine being available for all adults in Florida by April 5, Beryl is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

“Many of our older patrons were very fearful and now that they’ve been vaccinated and they are sensing that it’s going to be safe and clean in here and the rest of the world as much as possible they are starting to re-subscribe," Beryl said.

“I was just thrilled to see an 80.7 percent occupancy for last week," said Jorge Pesquera, president of Discover the Palm Beaches.

Pesquera said since vaccinations began, they’ve seen an upward trend in hotel bookings.

“We were only four points off from the same week in March of 2019 which was a record level of occupancy and activity here," Pesquera said.

Over on the Treasure Coast, Discover Martin County said they are seeing more seniors out and about.

“You can see that there are older individuals getting out they’re shopping, they’re happy, it’s a sense of freedom almost to know that you’re protected," said Narissa Okeye with Discover Martin County