For immediate release


-Prestigious tourism honor awarded during CVB's Travel Rally Day celebration, acknowledging the importance of tourism to Palm Beach County and the nation -

THE PALM BEACHES, Fla. (May 7, 2013) -

The Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) today recognized the International Polo Club Palm Beach with the 2013 Providencia Award, based on the organization's significant and substantial impact on the destination's tourism industry.

The honor was fittingly awarded during a CVB luncheon at the

Marriott Hotel, West Palm Beach to celebrate Travel Rally Day, the national day of observance within National Travel and Tourism Week, sanctioned by the U.S. Travel Association, aimed at generating awareness of the importance of traveland tourism to the country. .

"The Providencia Award is Palm Beach County's most important symbol of recognition for the local tourism industry, which employs 45,000 county residents and contributes over $5 billion annually to the local economy," said CVB President and CEO Jorge Pesquera. "I could not think of a better time to celebrate this award, its recipient, and the many very-worthy nominees, than today, when industry representatives from around the country are rallying together to recognize the extraordinary economic contribution of tourism here in the United States."

"The International Polo Club is home to American's triple crown - the three highest rated polo tournaments on the continent: the USPA C.V. Whitney Cup, the Piaget USPA Gold Cup, and the USPA Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship. And now, we couldn't be happier to be home to the 2013 Providencia Award. Our 10th Anniversary season broke all records! Winning the Providencia Award is truly the icing on the cake. We thank everyone for their support," John Wash, president, International Polo Club."

The International Polo Club Palm Beach was chosen as one of three finalists by the CVB's five-member Providencia Committee, who evaluated and scored 15 different nominations. Those three finalists were then put to a public vote on, the

Palm Beach Post's source for online news. Voters were given the opportunity to review an overview and brief video, produced by the Palm Beach Post's online team, for each of the three finalists before casting their votes. This year's finalists included Lynn University, The Honda Classic, and the International Polo Cub Palm Beach. More than 2,640 people voted through the online poll.

The other 12 nominees for this year's Providencia Award included: Allianz Championship, Flavor Palm Beach, Eau Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach, Delray

Beach's Arts Garage, Central Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, Delray Beach Marketing Cooperative, Palm Beach International Boat Show, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Equestrian Sport Productions CEO Mark Bellissimo, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival Organization, and Palm Beach International Raceway.

The Travel Rally Day luncheon was attended by more than 380 industry partners who, in addition to hearing the 2013 Providencia winner announced for the first time, also heard from both Pesquera and keynote speaker, Susannah Costello, Vice President of Global Brand for VISIT FLORIDA. Both shared insight and knowledge on the impact of tourism and the importance of tourism marketing and branding in today's world.

"With two consecutive years of record visitation, Florida has a tremendous amount of momentum going into the next year. We are fortunate to be in a state that recognizes the importance of tourism and our industry's role in strengthening Florida's economy."

Pesquera also made remarks regarding the 30

th Anniversary of the founding of the CVB and the significant achievements in terms of visitation and economic impact for this important economic sector.

"According to a CVB study conducted in 1988, visitor spending was equivalent to $1.57 billion in 2013 dollars. Today, the industry generates more than $5 billion to the local economy, that is triple growth over the past three decades," said Pesquera. "It is a truly incredible sign of our industry's resilience that we have made a full recovery after some challenging economic times, and are close to our all-time peaks in virtually every tourism performance category."

Pesquera also took the opportunity to remind partners that each Palm Beach County household saves $890 in taxes annually, thanks to tourism. He commented that a 10% increase in visitors would positively impact the County's economy through:

  • $550 million dollars more in visitor spending
  • 5,000 more local jobs
  • $82 million dollars in additional state and local taxes

About the International Polo Club Palm Beach

The International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC-PB) celebrates its 10th season of bringing the highest goal polo competition to Palm Beach County during 16 weeks of the winter season. IPC-PB is considered to be the finest, most well-equipped polo facility in the United States. IPC-PB is host to America's Triple Crown of prestigious polo tournaments: the C.V. Whitney Cup, the USPA PIAGET Gold Cup, and the USPA Maserati 109th U.S. Open ChampionshipTM. Spectators hail from around the globe, representing numerous countries in Europe, South America, South Africa, Canada, and the United States, and exceed 200,000 annually.

Grooms, trainers, coaches, equestrian veterinarians, caretakers, and support staff pay the 5% bed tax monthly on rental leases and hotel stays. The 2011 Economic Impact Study conducted by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission reports that IPB-BC generated 1,288 hotel and resort room nights that year, with an average stay of 16 nights, benefiting the county is an economic impact of $292,750. Additionally, 8,968 condo and apartment rentals among polo participants generated another 8,968 nights. And with the average spending per party among participants at nearly $40,000, IPC-

PB's total economic impact is estimated at $20,602,839. A 2013 update to this study revealed that this year was a record-breaking season for IPC-PB, increasing its impact significantly from that reported just two years ago.

About the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau:

The Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for Palm Beach County, Fla., with a mission to increase visitation, deliver a one-of-a-kind visitor experience, and contribute to the overall economic development in Palm Beach County. As a non-profit organization, the CVB develops marketing and sales strategies to support tourism, which, as one of Palm Beach County's largest industries, generates an annual economic impact of $5 billion in the local economy, welcomes five million visitors a year, supports 45,000 industry jobs, and helps to ensure Florida remain a tax-free state.


Media Contact:

Carli Smith/ CVB, 561-233-3030, (c) 561-308-4255,

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