July 12, 2012 TDC Recap

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dear Industry Partner:

Below you'll find just a few highlights from Wednesday's monthly Tourist Development Council meeting. As usual, we have posted the agend a 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.

May TDT Breaks Another All-Time Record
May was another record- breaker for Pinellas County's Tourist Development Tax (TDT), with collections soaring 10.23% year-over-year for a gross total of more than $2.44 million. According to the Pinellas County Tax Collector's office, this is the highest May total since it began keeping TDT records. This continues the record-breaking TDT trend for 2012, which has seen several months break all-time records -- including March, which saw the highest single month total of any month in the county's history. You can see the May 2012 breakdown by municipality and lodging type on thi s chart. Fiscal Year TDT collection to date stands at almost $20 million. The total economic impact through May is $3.5 billion, which is up 7.3% from this time last year. The percent occupancy rate is also up from 2011, checking in at 67%, a 5.1% increase, second- best in the state to only Sarasota-Bradenton. See the full research Data Services report here , and the Tourist Development Tax totals here.

Beach Nourishment Projects Continue As Planned
Andy Squires with the Pinellas County Coastal Commission gave a presentation on beach nourishment after Tropical Storm Debby. Pass-A-Grille was the only beach that didn't have a nourishment project planned before the storm. It will now take place in 2013, along with a host of other planned projects. Honeymoon Island, Sand Key, Treasure Island, Long Key, Upham Beach and Mullet Key/Fort De Soto Park will all receive attention within the next 18 months. The damage for non- federally funded beaches totaled $886,000, while the federally funded beaches sustained $15-20 million in damage.

Nine Elite Event recommendations approved
Recommendations by the sub- committee for finding elite events for FY2013 were discussed and approved by the full TDC board. The events that received funding are: A Taste of Pinellas, Beef O'Brady's Bowl, Clearwater Jazz Holiday, East-West Shrine Game, Honda Grand Prix, Outback Bowl, PGA Tournament, Super Boat Championship and Women's Half Marathon. The Elite Event's funding structure is divided into two separate categories: Category 1 events must have at least 25,000 attendees and/or generate at least 10,000 room nights and be nationally televised; Category 2 events must have at least 15,000 attendees and/or generate at least 5,000 room nights.

Website traffic continues to spike
VSPC's online presence continues to be the best it's been in four years, with more than 100,000 visits in May, good for a 48 percent increase compared to a year ago. Other signals of intent to travel -- such as views of the electronic Visitor Guide and increased page views -- were both significantly higher than last year's. The Visitor Guide saw a 76% increase in May, which followed 79% in April and 52% in March. For the complete Internet Marketing report click here.

Please note, per TDC tradition, the August TDC Meeting will be canceled. However, as usual, all of our reports will be on file and available for viewing at that time.

Again, these are just a few highlights of the meeting. 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.

Regards,

David

David Downing
Deputy Director
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater