The Economic Impact of Cultural Tourism in Palm Beach County

Surale Phillips, American for the Arts


Results from the FY 2019 Attendee Surveys and Spending Data

The Cultural Tourism Development Fund provides two grant programs that are funded by revenues from Palm Beach County’s bed tax: Category B (grants to nonprofit organizations with an annual operating budget of more than $1.175M) and Category C-II (grants to nonprofit organizations with an annual operating budget of $200,000 to $1.175M). The grants support the tourist development efforts of these cultural institutions. The Cultural Tourism Development Fund awarded a total of $4,640,000 to 36 of Palm Beach County’s cultural organizations during FY 2019 (2018‐2019): 22 category B organizations received a total of $4,130,000, and 14 category C‐II organizations received a total of $510,000.

The Cultural Council for Palm Beach County administers this biennial grant program under contract with the Tourist Development Council and the Board of County Commissioners. The program requires grantees to collect standardized data during the grant period through the use of audience‐intercept surveys. During the FY 19 grant period, the 36 participating grantees collected a total of 15,866 valid surveys from attendees to their performances, events, and destinations. Research objectives for this project are to report the survey results, inform future cultural tourism marketing efforts, and evaluate the economic impact of cultural tourism in the county.

This project is a joint effort between Surale Phillips and Americans for the Arts. The consultant designed the survey with input from the Cultural Council, Discover the Palm Beaches, Americans for the Arts, and the grantee organizations. The rigorous methodology aligns with other local and national research conducted by Americans for the Arts.

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