The Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism has officially been cancelled because of Hurricane Dorian.
“As Hurricane Dorian continues to strengthen and approaches our state, it’s become abundantly clear that it is impossible to host the 2019 Governor’s Conference on Tourism that was scheduled to begin next week in Boca Raton,” reads an email from VISIT FLORIDA to conference goers.
The four-day event had been scheduled to begin Tuesday at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. But the resort sits squarely in the path of the hurricane, which could be a Category 4 storm when it makes landfall. Indeed, Florida’s entire east coast remains at risk.
“Palm Beach County is currently under a state of emergency at both the state and county level,” reads the official email cancelling the event.
“The safety of our conference attendees and staff is paramount, and asking anyone to travel to South Florida over the weekend and early next week in the midst of a life-threatening hurricane would not be in the best interest of safety.”
The event was supposed to be a celebration of Florida remaining on track for its best year ever attracting visitors. Experts planned to come to town discussing travel trends and marketing strategies.
But as of Thursday afternoon, Boca Raton sat firmly in the “cone of uncertainty” for Hurricane Dorian, as did Florida’s entire east coast. Emergency meetings were underway about how to adjust the conference due to the worst kind of inclement weather.
Alas, a Florida tourism conference cancelled by a hurricane, the dreaded bugaboo of hospitality marketing professionals statewide.
Some 780 tourism professionals has RSVP’d as of Thursday evening.
“Full refunds will be issued for conference registration fees as soon as possible. Conference attendees will be able to cancel their rooms at the Boca Raton Resort and Club,” an email informs guests.
The news comes as tourism leaders statewide turn their attention to preserving lives and hardening properties.
“At this time, we recognize that your focus should be spent preparing your communities, businesses and families for Hurricane Dorian,” the email reads. “VISIT FLORIDA’s top priority right now is supporting the state’s preparedness efforts and the communities we serve.”