Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing (PCTSM) will celebrate National Tourism Week with a number of activities the week of May 5 – 9, 2014. The first full week of May is recognized annually as National Travel and Tourism Week. Plans are still in progress so PCTSM wants tourism officials and residents to make note of these dates, to join in on the public festivities. Polk’s theme for this year’s celebration is “We Are Tourism” as PCTSM will honor and highlight those that make a great experience for visitors to Polk County. PCTSM staff members will visit locations across Polk County, in a tourism caravan, visiting different tourism and hospitality venues daily, to recognize the contributions of the front-line travel industry personnel who interact with visitors on a daily basis. PCTSM will host a Tourism Rally for Polk County Tourism Employees and Dignitaries at Polk Outpost 27 (Polk County’s official visitor information center) in Davenport on National Travel Rally Day, Tuesday, May 6, from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Staff from PCTSM and The Ledger Media Group will also be presenting several of the Ledger’s 2014 “Golden Plate Awards” in person at the winner’s locations, as part of the caravan.
Tourism is the number one industry in Polk County, employing more than 20,000 people and contributing more than $1.2 billion in economic impact in 2013, which helps enhance the quality of life for the citizens and businesses of Polk County. Research by VISIT FLORIDA (the tourism marketing corporation for the state of Florida) indicates nearly 95 million visitors came to Florida in 2013, an increase of 3.5 percent over 2012. This represents a record year for visitation to Florida, exceeding the previous high of 91.5 million in 2012. The number of direct travel-related jobs in 2013 was also a record high, with 1,088,200 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – up 2.9 percent from 2012.
More details will be forthcoming, as the specifics of Polk County’s National Tourism Week daily caravan stops are mapped out across Polk County. For more information, contact Carol DeHaven at 863-551-4750 or Carol@visitcentralflorida.org.