Summer is the time tourism agencies work on the bigger picture.
With tourist numbers down and regular meetings on hiatus — the Tourist Development Council and Convention and Visitors Bureau board are skipping their monthly meetings in August and the Convention and Visitors Bureau skipped July — tourism leaders focus on projects and planning.
One of those is the revamp of the Palm Beach International Airport website at pbia.org. This has actually been in the works for months, but it was unveiled to the public Friday.
It definitely looks more like a visitor’s guide than the government page it was just a month ago — with a nifty new logo.
All the flight information is still there — real-time arrivals and departures and a map of available routes. New PBIA Marketing Director Stephanie Richards hopes it’s easier to find.
And the official government information has been moved to its own page.
One of the features on revamped website is a water safety message. The airport partnered with the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Palm Beach County, as well as county fire-rescue and Clear Channel, to produce the video. It’s being shown in the baggage claim areas — and can be seen on the website.
Also, the CVB is putting the finishing touches on its rebranding process. The new destination name and tagline, as well as the CVB’s new name, should be unveiled in September.
Maybe you didn’t know that PBIA is a real deal, according to Cheapflights.com.
Ranking 101 of the most-searched departure airports, the website found PBIA at No. 19 and an average airfare of $336.
Rival airports Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International was 21st with $345 average cost and Miami International was 99th with an average price of $618.
Palm Beach moved up eight spots from last year, according to a news release from Cheapflights.com.
It’s not unusual, as smaller markets near major metros often offer competitive prices to lure travelers.
But PBIA battles an image that it is more expensive that flying through Fort Lauderdale or Orlando. There’s not another Florida airport on the list above PBIA. The top spot belongs to Long Beach, Calif.
That doesn’t mean you get a direct, nonstop flight, of course.
The website checked prices during June to popular destinations. Of course, you can use the website to book a flight.
Here’s the good news for all frequent fliers: This year’s research showed a slight downward trend in average airfares across the board.
Fast-boat to casino
Operators in Miami are giving a fast cruise to Bimini a try.
The Resorts World Bimini started cruises in July from the Port of Miami to the southern Bahamas island of Bimini, after a couple of false starts while working on Coast Guard certification.
You can make it a day trip, but the real point for the resort is to get people to stay overnight and gamble. The venture is operated by Genting Group, the global company that bought the former Miami Herald building on Biscayne Bay with the intent of building a casino. Lawmakers haven’t cooperated with those plans.
Florida beaches Googled
Soon you will be able to see Florida beaches on Google Maps with street view.
A team from Visit Florida, the state’s marketing agency, started a four-month project in July to walk beaches around the state — there’s 825 miles of them. The team plans to cover 50 miles a week.
The 360-degree view will give people a small sense of what it’s like to be on the beach in Florida.
“Partnering with Google Maps to document the beauty and diversity of Florida’s beaches and coastline using this amazing technology will allow people to see parts of the Sunshine State they may never have discovered on their own,” Visit Florida CEO and President Will Seccombe stated in a news release.