For Hometown News
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Recently, a group of enthusiastic marketing professionals from local businesses took Indian River County on the road and made a big splash at The Villages Travel Expo with more than 8,500 attendees.
Representing more than 25 local businesses, members of the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Division’s Group Travel Marketing Committee set up shop at the central Florida expo, held annually for one day in mid-January, to promote the many exciting attractions that make the community a unique vacation destination.
Representing Indian River County were Amy Selby, Springhill Suites; Jon Moses, Riverside Theatre; Cynthia Johnson, Capt. Hiram’s; and Director of Tourism Allison McNeal with the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce.
The Villages is an ideal market that is rife with potential visitors who are active and affluent with healthy budgets for travel. Located an hour north of Orlando, the retirement community has a population of 90,000 with 89 percent taking at least two Florida vacations a year, 57 percent visiting natural attractions, 83 percent preferring mid-week travel and spending $198 million a year on restaurant dining.
“We are very excited about the warm welcome that we received from residents, as well as group travel planners,” said Amy Selby, marketing director at Springhill Suites and chair of the Group Travel Committee. “The potential for bringing group tourism business to Indian River County is impressive. We captured over 4,000 email addresses from residents and have already booked one multi-day group tour with several others in the works.”
The chamber’s Tourism Division plans to add the 4,000 email addresses to its database of more than 20,000 travelers who receive an e-newsletter once a month, which includes highlights of upcoming events, suggestions for travel adventures and “hot deals” from area attractions, restaurants and accommodations.
Additionally, the chamber is working with tourism partners to schedule several familiarization tours with group travel planners that represent hundreds of social groups that are interested in Florida vacation destinations.
In addition to group travel, the chamber collaborates with local tourism partners to promote Indian River County as an ideal vacation destination among other niche markets based on specific traveler interests, including destination weddings, small-market meetings, cultural arts, heritage and eco-tourism. As the largest industry within the county, tourism has a tremendous impact on the local economy. Per the latest figures of the 2010 data from the U.S. Travel Association, travelers spent $363.2 million. That accounted for $93.2 million in payroll generated and $11.25 million in local tax receipts in Indian River County. From fiscal year 2011 compared to 2012, Indian River County bed tax increased by 11.5 percent or $166,398 in bed tax revenues.
For more information, call (772) 567-3491, email Tourism@indianriverchamber.com or visit www.indianriverchamber.com.