Undis­cov­ered Florida

Selling Travel - - On Location -

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

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