December 10, 2009 TDC Meeting Recap

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dear Industry Partner:
Below you'll find a few highlights from this month's Tourist Development Council meeting. These updates are designed to keep our industry partners up-to-date with developments in the St. Pete/Clearwater area tourism community, and to provide a thumbnail of the agenda items discussed at monthly TDC meetings. As always, we invite you to attend the meetings, all of which are archived and can be viewed at your leisure on PinellasCounty.org.

SECOND WAVE OF STATION DOMINATION DEBUTS IN MANHATTAN
VSPC's most recent ad campaign hit the streets in New York this week---or, more accurately, hit below the streets this week---as the second wave of Station Domination was unveiled at the 59th Street/Bloomingdales Subway Station. The ads, which build upon last winter's introduction of St. Pete/Clearwater's official Ambassadors, underscore the area's proximity to the NYC market, drawing playful comparisons between the two destinations with a simple, yet catchy tagline: "Two-and-a-half hours in the air can change everything." The NYC ad campaign will expand in March with the addition of Taxi TV videos, full page ads in local newspapers and another Station Domination installation inside one of the city's busiest Subway stations, Union Square/14th Street.

RESOLUTION NAMES BILLIRIS AS TDC’s FIRST MEMBER EMERITUS
The Tourist Development Council unanimously approved a resolution naming Tarpon Springs' George Billiris as Pinellas County's first-ever TDC Member Emeritus. Billiris, who has been involved in tourism-related businesses for over 60 years and has served on the TDC for nearly a decade, was honored for "tirelessly working to protect and promote the cultural and historical assets of Tarpon Springs as a nationally and internationally known premiere tourist destination within Pinellas County." He was also lauded for the "countless hours" he's spent supporting and participating directly in tourism marketing, as well as for his "steady guidance and sage advice" to the CVB, TDC and the Board of County Commissioners. Billiris, who is featured in a new destination video that will debut with VSPC's completely redesigned website later this month, will be presented with an official copy of the resolution at January's TDC meeting.

WORLD TRAVEL MARKET RAISES AREA PROFILE ON WORLD STAGE
Executive Director DT Minich characterized the overall international tourism outlook as "cautiously optimistic" at this year's World Travel Market, which was held at London's ExCel Centre last month. Minich, who joined VSPC's UK office director Venessa Alexander and local tourism partners for the four-day event, met with dozens of tour operators and other tourism-industry professionals to promote area tourism and discuss ways to grow international tourism to the area. Representatives from VSPC's UK-based PR agency, Fleishman-Hillard, conducted press interviews and provided collateral to travel trade media and consumer publications as well. VSPC's presence was enhanced by its prominent "Check Your Tan, Not Your Coat" cloak-room sponsorship, which this year included video in addition to branded placards and coat-check tickets.

CONSUMER DEMAND FOR VSPC VISITOR GUIDES CONTINUES TO RISE
Consumer demand for VSPC's Visitors Guide is up by 44% year-to-date over 2008, which is significant news, since Visitor Guide requests are viewed industry-wide as a measure of consumers' intent to travel to any given destination. VSPC's newest Visitors Guide, which debuted last month at the 2010 Marketing Launch at Safety Harbor Resort, features the Ambassadors on the cover and includes a new Pet-Friendly Travel section and a new Social Media promotional page, as well as a "What's New" roundup of the latest happenings in the destination. Visitor Guides can be ordered toll-free by phone and online at VisitStPeteClearwater.com, where visitors can also find a completely paperless electronic version available for viewing and/or immediate download.

Again, these are just a few highlights of the meeting. Also, as a reminder, in addition to the streaming video of the entire meeting available from PCC TV, you can view all of the CVB's individual monthly departmental reports on our industry web site, PinellasCVB.com, within 24 hours of the original broadcast.

All of us at the CVB wish each of you a Happy Holiday Season, and we look forward to working with you in 2010.

Regards,
David
David Downing
Assistant Director
Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater