A total of 80 beds and 40 new jobs will result from the grand opening of Polk County’s newest hotel, Lakeland-based Holiday Inn Express and Suites — with two more to follow, bringing even higher numbers.
Statistics provided by hotel industry tracking organization STR (formerly known as Smith Travel Research) indicate good times for Polk County’s tourism industry, with existing hotel occupancy up 7.6 percent and per-room revenue up 17.1 percent over last year — sparking enthusiasm among local stakeholders.
“An unwavering commitment to producing the highest return-on-investment, coupled with a supply-side development philosophy and balanced demand, have created a bright future for Polk County’s tourism industry,” Mark Jackson, director of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing, said.
In addition to the Holiday Inn Express and Suites on 3405 South Florida Ave. in Lakeland, a TownPlace Suites by Marriott will be constructed on US 98 North at the Interstate 4 junction, while a Home2 Suites by Hilton will arrive in Lakeside Village. Those projects are projected to bring 300 extra beds and “untold” additional jobs to the region.
A fourth project, an Extended Stay Hilton Garden at Lakeland-Linder Airport, is scheduled to break ground as well.
“We’ve put our money where our mouth is when it comes to Lakeland,” Jackson stated. “Having two state-of-the-art facilities in this town will bring more visitors, which in turn, brings more jobs.”
Hotel projects are also planned for nearby areas, including Winter Haven, Haines City, Lake Wales and Auburndale. Overall, construction is expected to positively impact the region’s economy as new jobs in turn bring more everyday commerce to existing vendors such as retail, grocery and pharmacy businesses.
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