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March 12--The Palm Beach County Hotel and Lodging Association is merging with the local chapter of a statewide industry trade group, officials have announced.

The countywide association, which represents hotels and other tourism-related businesses, recently voted to amalgamate with the Palm Beach County chapter of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association.

The decision came as David Semadeni, the hotel and lodging association's longtime board member, announced his retirement.

Semadeni has served as the association's secretary for the past 25 years.

The hotel and lodging association will hold its final meeting on Wednesday. The group represents about 40 hotels and 76 other tourism-related businesses.

The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association revived its Palm Beach County chapter about four years ago. Its membership includes several of the county's larger hotel properties.

David Burke, president of the group's local chapter and a member of the county's Tourist Development Council, said the decision to join forces would give the industry a stronger voice.

"Going forward we are going to be one voice and that is going to make us stronger both here and in Tallahassee," Burke said.

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