A group of UK tour operators discovered a lessexplored side of the Sunshine State, heading to Martin County on the Treasure Coast.
Seven buyers headed to the region, which sits on Florida's Atlantic coastline, following the annual Florida Huddle trade show. It was the first trip hosted by the county for UK product managers and buyers.
The group stayed at the recently-opened Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa, located directly on the beach, and everyone in the group said that they would be keen to sell the resort moving forward. The property opened at the end of 2017 and is the first resort to open in almost two decades on Jensen Beach.
Amy Shine, Product Manager at Funway Holidays, says: “Surprisingly, it is not somewhere that has previously been on my radar but a combination of good-quality hotels, lovely beaches and history make it a definite for inclusion in the UK market.
"It would make a perfect fly-drive option or a twin-centre with Orlando for customers looking for something a little more indicative of the real Florida.”
The most popular activities on the itinerary included yoga on the beach, learning to paddleboard and a seafood lunch at Baha Grille at the Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort and Marina. The group also tried their hand at feeding stingrays, went on a Segway tour, spooked themselves on a ghost hunt and visited the House of Refuge, the last remaining lifesaving station on Florida’s Atlantic Coast.
Charlotte Forrester, Product Manager at Southall Travel, says: “Martin County’s beautiful countryside and coastal region make it perfect for second-timers to Florida - those who have already experienced the faster-paced, built-up cities. It's a great place to explore, with lots of local-feel restaurants and bars."
Participants on the fam included Johnathan Poole from Travel Up Group, Philippa Westwood from America As You Like It, Simon Miles from North American Vacation Homes, Janice Wall from JAC Travel, Charlotte Forrester from Southall Travel, Amy Shine from Funway Holidays and Alison Murphy from If Only.
Simon Miles, Commercial Director at North America Vacation Homes, added: “Martin County is a hidden gem, full of history, beautiful beaches and picturesque waterways. Complementing the rest of Florida’s incredible attractions, this is a coastal region well worth exploring.”
Main picture: Shops in Hobe Sound Inset, from top: The group set off on the cool Ohana Bus; The historic House of Refuge at Gilbert's Bar; Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa; Sunrise yoga on the beach FLORIDA