The tourism industry, businesses detail life during the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic posed a number of challenges for the country and the Palm Beaches were no exception. During the height of the pandemic, the tourism industry in Florida was faced with diminishing revenue, which was devastating for the economy.
Businesses across West Palm Beach were forced to make adjustments in order to stay open. Two businesses illustrated the starkly different realities of trying to survive the challenges that quickly followed, one seeing an increase in sales and the other being forced to move online.
Jonathan Bacon, an employee at Columbia SportsWear in Palm Beach Lakes, explains his experience with the pandemic throughout his time working there.
“We actually shut down the business for a while and fully had to rely on online sales,” Bacon said.
The same was true for many businesses throughout the Palm Beaches, as places struggled to stay open. And Bacon said that he noticed that there wasn’t an increase in sales until the vaccines were rolled out.
Conversely, Park Smith, who is an accountant at Greenchem Industries on Clematis Street, detailed a different story involving chemical distribution during the pandemic.
“Because we are a chemical company, our sales rapidly increased, especially in the sales of Acetone. Costs, however, were higher, as we do a lot of deals with China and India,” Smith said.
However, Smith noted that they do a lot of business with Legoland and Disney. That was an issue during the pandemic because revenue fell significantly.
“Now that they are back open, we have been dramatically increasing the sales of hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies to their companies,” Smith said.
The demand for cleaning products during the peak of the pandemic was high. Discover the Palm Beaches, the official tourism marketing agency for Palm Beach County, created the
Palm Beaches Pledge, which helped instill confidence for tourists and residents.
One layer of the Palm Beaches Pledge was sanitation, something that local businesses committed to providing their customers.
“It is a commitment from local businesses and destination partners to adhere to social distancing, sanitation, and masks. It shows our promise as a destination to prioritize the health and safety of guests, employees, and residents and is still prominent throughout destination businesses as many promote and abide by it today,” said Lindsey Weigmann, the director of public relations for Discover the Palm Beaches.
Now, data reflects that there is an upward trend in the tourism industry. The number of rooms sold in July of 2021 was up 87% compared to the same time a year earlier.
By: Jordan Wolfe and Aaron Heckmann