February 8, 2012 TDC Recap

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dear Industry Partner:

Below you'll find just a few highlights from this morning's monthly Tourist Development Council meeting. As usual, we have posted the age nda online on our industry website, with clickable links to all of the individual monthly depart mental reports. Please note that each of these clickable agendas will be posted on this page of our industry site the Monday before the TDC meeting every month. Also, as a reminder, in addition to the individual reports and online agenda, you can watch streaming video of the entire meeting, available online from Pinellas County Communications.

Pinellas County Sets New Record for Single-Year Bed- Tax Collections
Propelled by a December that saw Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections soar more than 19% over December 2010, the St. Pete/Clearwater area finished calendar year 2011 with the highest single-year TDT collection ever recorded in Pinellas County, bringing in more than $26.1 million. This bests the former calendar year record, set back in 2008, by a mere $70,000. As reported in last month's TDC Recap, Pinellas County's fiscal year collections were the third highest in the county's history. The monies, which come from a 5% tax assessed on lodging for Pinellas County hotels, motels, condos and campgrounds, help fund tourism-related ventures. Click he re for the complete chart from the Tax Collector.

Florida Huddle Foreshadows Boom in 2012
Deputy Director David Downing, along with Leisure Travel Director Rosemarie Payne and Sr. Leisure Travel Sales Manager Rob Price represented VSPC at last week's Florida Huddle in Ft. Lauderdale. The state's top marketing showcase for inbound Florida travel was a rousing success, with VSPC reps meeting with over 40 top product managers and travel media from around the globe. In his presentation today, Price noted that his domestic accounts are forecasting booking growth over those same numbers from 2011, with the top three of those accounts pacing with double digit gains. That optimism was shared by the 18 local partners that also attended this year's Huddle. In addition, VSPC has begun formulating new co-op marketing campaigns for the summer with top online travel accounts.

Glamour Magazine Germany Spotlights St. Pete/Clearwater
Public Relations continues to garner placement in a variety of high-profile publications, with the latest being a prominent six-page feature in Glamour Magazine Germany. That story comes as a direct result of an earlier desk-side visit in Munich---and subsequent visit to the area by the travel editor of the widely-read magazine. Another big win for the PR team was a major fashion shoot by a Canadian golf magazine, which featured high fashion against the stunning backdrop of the Dali Museum and the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club. The momentum in the golf market continued recently with Sr. Public Relations Manager Mary Haban attending the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, where she met with the golf world's top travel writers. Later this month, VSPC will host an all- Canadian press group, in addition to press groups from the UK, Germany and the U.S., later this spring. New Elite Event Funding Guidelines Adopted At yesterday's BCC meeting, the new Elite Event funding guidelines proposed by the TDC were formally approved for FY 2013. The new program, which creates a two- tiered structure designed to draw events ranging in size from 5,000 to 15,000+ room nights, will be open to eligible applicants for funding starting in FY 2013. Furthermore, funding requests for Elite Events may be provided in the form of either sponsorships or for funding a marketing plan. More information regarding eligibility and application guidelines will be forthcoming at an informational session to be held later this month.

Please note that the TDC Meeting for March is cancelled due to our attendance at the International Tourism Bourse (ITB), which takes place in Berlin the second week of March. However, as usual, all of our reports will be on file and available for viewing at that time.

We wish Commissioner John Morroni a speedy recovery and look forward to his return to the BCC, and we thank Commissioner Susan Latvala for staying on as Tourist Development Council Chair during his absence.

Regards,

David

David Downing
Deputy Director
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater