Status of three major facilities in Convention Center District puts The Palm Beaches on fast-track towards return of business travel
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 10, 2020) – Discover The Palm Beaches, the official tourism marketing organization for Palm Beach County, Fla., announced that it is the first destination in the United States to have its airport, convention center and convention center hotel receive the Global Biorisk Advisory Council’s (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation. The rigorous program verifies that the recognized facilities achieve the highest standards of cleaning protocols, disinfection techniques, and employee policies to combat the transmission of infectious diseases.
The Palm Beach County Convention Center (PBCCC) was the first convention center in Southeast Florida to earn the prestigious accreditation as announced on July 15; meanwhile, the Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) was the first airport in Florida, second in the nation, to earn it on Aug. 20, and Hilton West Palm Beach, the hotel connected to the convention center, was recognized with its GBAC STAR on Aug. 31.
This accreditation trifecta is a promising sign toward the destination’s verified credibility to welcome business travelers with confidence, once again. Prior to COVID-19, Palm Beach County, already a popular destination for incentive programs, was rising in the ranks to host meetings, conventions, and events. PBCCC returned its first profitable year in 2017, after 14 years in operation, with the addition of South Florida’s first connected convention center hotel. Since 2014, DTPB nearly doubled its production of group business, which was fueled by record-breaking convention center business sales.
“While our sales team caters to the new challenges that meeting planners are navigating today, we are seeing that in-person meetings are slowly coming back,” said Kelly Cavers, senior vice president of Group Sales and Destination Services at DTPB. “For those who feel comfortable traveling, we are proud to share that each point on the meeting attendee’s journey – airport, convention center hotel, and convention center – have been recognized by the worldwide cleaning industry association for establishing protocols that meet and exceed widely regarded standards in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”
The increased sanitation protocols are designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As part of its cleaning program PBI performs a nightly electrostatic spraying of the terminal building. Additionally, all persons at PBI over the age of two are required to wear a facial covering inside the facility. Hilton West Palm Beach, the convention center hotel, is following the protocols set forth by Hilton’s corporate CleanStay program that was developed in partnership with RB, maker of Lysol, and Dettol. PBCCC’s sanitation procedures include an increased focus on frequent touch-points and nightly electrostatic spraying.
GBAC is a division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association and is staffed with experience in academia such as Harvard Medical School, Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, and Emory University, plus government agencies and nonprofits including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and ISO, the International Organization for Standardization. To earn the GBAC STARTM accreditation, facilities are required to meet established requirements that control risks associated with infectious agents, such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19.
In June, DTPB announced Palm Beach County’s pursuit towards the GBAC STARTM accreditation on a destination-wide basis. The program, supported by the Tourist Development Council and its various agencies, was made possible by providing this program complimentary to more than 150 hotel and certain cultural institutions. Since the launch of the program, Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), the Palm Beach County Convention Center, the Brazilian Court Hotel and Hilton West Palm Beach have received the GBAC STARTM accreditation.
DTPB will continue to guide other hotels and facilities through the process of earning GBAC STAR accreditation, with ISSA’s support. This week, Dr. Gavin Macgregor Skinner, the director of ISSA’s GBAC division, will lead a workshop at the Palm Beach County Convention Center to assist local cultural institutions with the application and accreditation process.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, DTPB had led various virtual seminars in partnership with industry leaders such as the Florida Department of Health – Palm Beach County, Florida Attractions Association, U.S. Travel Association, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, Florida Retail Federation Services and the International SPA Association to educate local tourism and hospitality businesses. To stay up-to-date on the businesses in The Palm Beaches that have received the GBAC STAR accreditation, visit https://www.thepalmbeaches.com/gbac-star%E2%84%A2-accreditation.
About GBAC, a Division of ISSA
Composed of international leaders in the field of microbial-pathogenic threat analysis, mitigation, response, and recovery, the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a Division of ISSA, provides training, guidance, accreditation, certification, crisis management assistance, and leadership to government, commercial and private entities looking to mitigate, quickly address, and/or recover from biological threats and real-time crises. The organization’s services include biorisk management program assessment and training, Forensic Restoration® response and remediation, the GBAC STAR™ facility accreditation program, training and certification of individuals, and consulting for building owners and facility managers. For more information, visit www.gbac.org.
About Discover The Palm Beaches
Discover The Palm Beaches, formerly the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau, is the official 501(c)(6) not-for-profit, accredited tourism marketing organization that promotes the collection of 39 cities and towns commonly referred to as “The Palm Beaches,” which spans more than 2,300 square miles and 47 miles of pristine, golden beaches from Boca Raton to Jupiter and Tequesta. Tourism is Palm Beach County’s second-leading industry, generating $5.06 billion in direct visitor spending and supporting 70,000 jobs with an economic impact of more than $7.7 billion. Once recognized as a tropical escape for elite travelers in the late 1800s, America’s First Resort Destination® is making its resurgence as The Best Way To Experience Florida®, welcoming a record-breaking 8.22 million people in 2019. The Palm Beaches are home to more than 17,000 hotel rooms, ranging from historic resorts to boutique inns. The destination features more than 100 family-friendly attractions, world-class luxury and antique shopping experiences, 125 miles of peaceful waterways for on- or in-the-water activities, 160 artificial reefs that line the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf Stream current, 160 golf courses, award-winning restaurants and a thriving entertainment scene boasting more than 200 art and culture organizations.
For more information about The Palm Beaches, visit www.ThePalmBeaches.com and connect on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @PalmBeachesFL, YouTube at Discover The Palm Beaches and the hashtag #ThePalmBeaches. Tune-in to The Palm Beaches TV for 24/7 streaming content of the destination’s hotels, attractions, restaurants and experiences.