Tourism + Hospitality

   For Immediate Release: May 22, 2020
Contact: Tourism Director Nerissa Okiye, 772-631-8534  

Short-term vacation rental plan approved for Martin County    The Martin County Office of Tourism and Marketing is pleased to announce that the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) has approved the short-term vacation rental plan that was submitted following its approval at the Board of County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, May 19.

Per the Governor’s Executive Order 20-123, all counties seeking to reopen vacation rentals were required to submit a written request and rental safety plan to DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears for review and approval.   In developing the plan, Martin County staff reviewed the guidelines recommended by the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association along with plans already submitted by several other counties. The team also spoke with several local management companies to review expectations and deliverables.  

“We appreciate the Martin County BOCC’s support and thank Secretary Beshears and the team at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation for the quick review and approval of this plan. Tourism is a vital industry in Martin; for every tourism dollar spent in Martin County, 65 cents stays local. The loss of revenue incurred by the inability to offer short-term rentals impacted not only the businesses and individuals responsible for these rentals but had a negative impact on the entire tourism economy in Martin County. We look forward to welcoming visitors to our destination while doing so safely and within the CDC guidelines,” said Tourism Director Nerissa Okiye.

The plan presented to the Secretary would allow for short-term vacation rental reservations and the acceptance of arriving guests in Martin County beginning today, May 22, 2020. Plan specifics, related to reservations, health and safety and cleanliness, can be found here. For information or questions regarding the reopening plan, owners and managers should contact the Martin County Office of Tourism and Marketing at 772-288-5445.

Breathe In . . . Breathe Out

Martin County Tourism Update #6 (May 3, 2020)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued Executive Order 20-111 and Executive Order 20-112. These documents are part of Phase One of the “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery.” Linked here is a useful FAQ document to help you navigate the changes that hopefully provide some clarification.  

The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association is here to assist businesses navigate the changes. Please visit their dedicated COVID-19 Resource page for available resources and webinars that will guide you through the process. Additional information may be found at the below links.  FRLA Re-Opening Frequently Asked Questions FRLA Re-Opening Guidance Document

Executive Order 20-112 extends the vacation rental suspension indefinitely until the end of Phase 1 of the reopening. The Florida Vacation and Rental Management Association (VRMA) is the trade association that supports Florida vacation rentals. Please check their dedicated COVID -19 page frequently for updates and to get involved with any advocacy efforts.  

The Martin County remains steadfast in our resolve to make Martin County a safe and healthy place to call home. As we move into the recovery phase, protecting the health and safety of our employees, residents and visitors remains the county’s primary goal. Collaborating with federal, state and local partners, we will provide guidelines for our community with a data-driven approach. Together we will approach new challenges with resilience and sustainability to protect that which is most precious to us. Together we can get through this. Together we can move our community forward. Recent updates may be found here.  

National Travel and Tourism Week is May 3-9. Typically, this is the time when travel and tourism professionals across the country unite to celebrate the value travel holds for our economy, businesses and personal well-being. This year, the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency is having an unprecedented impact on the travel industry and the entire economy. Now more than ever, the travel and tourism community must come together, support each other and remind our country that even through the most difficult times, the Spirit of Travel cannot be broken. Find out how you can get involved socially here.  

Earlier this week we received a copy of the Economic Impact of Travel & Tourism in Martin County. The survey was commissioned by Martin County’s Tourism Development Council (TDC) through a research cooperative formed in 2019 with VISIT FLORIDA. The analysis seeks to translate the contribution made by visitors to the county’s GSP, jobs, wages and tax receipts. Martin County had the highest year-over-year growth rate for visitor spending of any county in Florida. Here are some important findings from this study: Of every dollar spent by visitors to Martin County, 65¢ in economic impact is returned to the local area. Approximately 9.3% of all jobs in Martin County are supported by tourism. Tourism is the 3rd largest industry, behind health and social services and retail trade. If tourism did not exist, each of the 160,912 households in Martin County would have to pay an additional $383 per year in taxes to maintain current state and local tax levels.

Destination Marketing Organizations across Florida are working to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism economy so that we will have consistent data on a statewide basis.   If enough industry partners complete the survey to make results valid, we will receive another county-specific report. If you would like a copy of the first report, please email   Here is the survey link:   Your answers are confidential and will be seen only by Downs & St. Germain Research, which is doing this work pro bono. All organizations are requesting the same information, and the data collected will be consolidated into statewide impact reports.  

Are you on social media? We are! Visit us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The quickest way to engage with our team is through our various social platforms using the @DiscoverMartin handle or by sending us an email at All industry updates, along with links to important COVID-19 information, are posted to the tourism COVID-19 page  (link here).    

Are you taking time to update your Google listing? With information changing rapidly, it is important that your business information is accurate on search engine platforms. The Martin County Office of Tourism and Marketing (OTM), in conjunction with Miles Partnership, has created a useful sheet on how to update your Google presence. Please click here to access this useful guide.  

The OTM is a Google-certified DMO and here to assist with resources. If you are a tourism business and would like to get a copy of a Google Workshop presentation that includes useful information on how to manage your Google listing, please email  

While we are not actively marketing the area to potential visitors, we have noticed an uptick in our web traffic. If you have a special offer you would like to feature as part of a #PlanNowVisitLater strategy, you may add those offers to our special offers page. Please make sure to include the dates that your offer is valid.    

Restaurants throughout #MartinCounty are taking additional measures to ensure the safety of all staff and guests. Local eateries are offering carryout, curbside pick-up and delivery options to continue feeding patrons in the safest way possible.   Visit our Dining at a Distance page to find what restaurants in the Martin County area are offering services during this time. We have over 220 submissions to this site. Please use the form on that page to add what you know!  


Visit Florida has set up a COVID-19 Data Dashboard. Gathering this data now is important and may help us speed up our recovery. Please view the data dashboard and other vital information on their dedicated COVID-19 webpage.   The Florida Attractions Association (FAA) has a created a list of best practices for attractions to be used as part of the reopening Florida’s attractions strategy you may review these considerations here. The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) has a COVID-19 portal with information and resources for both hospitality businesses and hospitality employees.   

Miles Partnership, along with our industry partners, has created and curated a resource center with essential insights and recommendations for DMOs and tourism organizations. These resources provide clear, timely answers to questions about COVID-19 and travel & tourism.  

To help travel brands adapt to this fast-changing environment, the ADARA Traveler Trends Tracker taps into real-time travel data to track travel-related consumer behavior and identify key trends.   ARRIVALIST Arrivalist’s Daily Travel Index measures consumer road trips of 50 miles or more in all 50 U.S. states. The data is drawn from a panel of GPS signals representing road trips taken by car. The insights have been prepared to help travel marketers and other industry professionals gauge fluctuations in drive market trips in any state.  


The Martin County Business Development Board (BDB) is here to help navigate local, regional, state and national resources. They have created a COVID-19 BIZ Hub to help centralize all current and forthcoming information on key announcements, new services, programs, virtual events and community efforts to assist local businesses through this ever-changing environment. You can also call them at 772.221.1380 or email with any questions or needs.   The BDB in collaboration with GIS Planning have implemented a new tool, ZoomBusiness.  This interactive directory showcases information on local businesses   Businesses may add themselves by clicking the button on the BDB website and input all their business information.  Click the OPEN FOR BUSINESS tab to get started.     


Alert Martin Emergency Alerts
Residents are encouraged to sign up to receive emergency alerts including information about COVID-19 by phone, text, and/or email. To sign up, text ALERTMARTIN to 888777.   211
Remember, the 211 Helpline is available 24/7 to connect you with resources for food, mental health, legal support and more. Those in need of help can dial 2-1-1, (561) 383-1112 or text their zip code to TXT211 (898211). The service is free, confidential and available 24/7.

Florida Department of Health
For questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Florida Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 call center, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 24/7 State Hotline: (866) 779-6121 Email: Website:

Martin County, Florida was recently named one of 8 American Cities Where Virtual Tourism is Thriving . . . way to go Martin County Office of Tourism for making it happen! (4/9/2020 – 8:53 am)


We encourage you to support our local businesses by ordering from area restaurants that are offering take-out, delivery and curbside pickup services. For a list of restaurants offering amended services, visit Discover Martin’s Dining at a Distance page.


The Martin County Office of Tourism & Marketing offers resources for our local tourism industry, resources for small businesses and more at their Discover Martin website

To report an ADA accessibility issue, request accessibility assistance regarding our website content, or to request a specific electronic format, please contact the BDBMC ADA Coordinator (772) 221-1380, Florida Relay 711, or complete our Accessibility Feedback Form. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate all needs.