Press Releases

Annual 'Best Of St. Pete/Clearwater' Poll Goes Live TODAY!

St. Pete/Clearwater (Dec. 21, 2016) - Starting today, visitors and locals alike can cast votes for their top picks in Visit St. Pete/Clearwater's sixth annual "Best of St. Pete/Clearwater."

Through Jan. 5, St. Pete/Clearwater fans can choose the area's best in 25 categories, including Best Hotels, Best Breweries and new ones, like Best Restaurants, Best Coffee Shops and Best Food Trucks.

For each category, a handful of traditionally popular answers have been included, along with a write-in space for any unlisted personal picks. The winners will be announced in VSPC's Gulf to Bay magazine, scheduled to be published in February. All voters have a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card during the vote.



Clearwater Beach Regains TripAdvisor's Crown As America's Best Beach

St. Pete/Clearwater (Feb. 21, 2018) - Clearwater Beach is on top again.

For the second time in three years, the famous white sands of Clearwater Beach have taken top honors in the U.S. and set a new personal high of No. 7 in the World as voted by TripAdvisor.

St. Pete Beach came in at No. 7 in the U.S., reaffirming St. Pete/Clearwater's reputation of America's Best Beaches.

"Clearwater Beach continues to be one of the most loved beaches anywhere, and TripAdvisor's recognition underscores that fact loud and clear," said Visit St. Pete/Clearwater President & CEO, David Downing. "The area's incredible natural beauty combined with an ever-growing array of accommodations, restaurants and attractions make it an attractive destination to visitors and locals alike."

Clearwater Beach was America's lone representative on TripAdvisor's global list.


Visit St. Pete/Clearwater Brings Third MLS Team to Region

St. Pete/Clearwater (Jan. 10, 2018) - Thanks to a marketing partnership with a worldwide brand, Red Bull, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is bringing a third Major League Soccer (MLS) club to St. Pete/Clearwater for preseason training.

Beginning Jan. 22, The New York Red Bulls will hold its preseason training at the Oldsmar Sports Complex, joining D.C. United and Philadelphia Union who hold training in Clearwater at the Walter C. Campbell Park and Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex, respectively.

"As the leader of sports and events programming for St. Pete/Clearwater, we couldn't be happier to host all three of these teams," said Tim Ramsberger, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater's Chief Operating Officer. "These partnerships help us promote our world-class destination in three important, cold-weather markets."


2016: A Year of Firsts, Records, Awards---and Yetis

St. Pete/Clearwater (December 30, 2016) - Record-setting bed tax and visitation, industry-leading marketing campaigns, first-ever cooperative partnerships, national awards---and another viral winter marketing campaign---were just a few of the highlights of 2016. As we count down the hours until we welcome 2017, here's a snapshot of just a few of the initiatives and some impressive results that made 2016 such a success:

Record Growth, 6th Percent Bring $50 Million In TDT for 2016

Two years after officially being deemed a high-impact tourism county---one of only six in the state---Pinellas County legislators voted to levy an additional percent to Pinellas County's TDT for every room night, effective Jan. 1, 2016. The additional percentage has generated more than $7.5 million in bed tax through October, which, together with record growth, is expected to push the cumulative 2016 total past the $50 million mark by year's end.


Big Data Drives 2018 Marketing Push

St. Pete/Clearwater (Dec. 15, 2017) - At two meetings last week with local tourism industry professionals, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater (VSPC) unveiled all-new marketing plans for 2018, which leverage big data in ways the destination's never seen.

"Research is going to dictate our behaviors and direction like never before," said VSPC President & CEO, David Downing. "This state-of-the-art technology allows us to evaluate millions of data points and build a plan around it that we never could have done before."


Garden & Gun Names St. Pete to The South's 10 Best Food Towns

St. Pete/Clearwater (Sept. 22, 2017) - Affirming St. Pete/Clearwater's growing reputation as an under-the-radar foodie paradise, Garden & Gun named St. Pete as one of The South's Best Food Towns on the culinary rise---in the company of Charleston, Nashville and New Orleans, among others.

Featured as an emerging food town to visit, St. Pete's food tour spotlights local hotspots, describing New York-off-shoot Empire Oyster as an example of how "St. Pete has even attracted interest from afar."

It also describes St. Pete/Clearwater's craft brewery scene, which is the largest in the state, as a "craze that jumped the bay from Tampa with a vengeance."


New 2017 'Gulf to Bay' Starts Worldwide Distribution This Weekend

St. Pete/Clearwater (March 1, 2017) - A new 12-page "Gulf Coasting" foldout beach guide, coverage on the winners of the annual  "Best of St. Pete/Clearwater," expanded culinary and craft beer sections and the largest print run ever are just a few of the new features of the 2017 edition of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater's Gulf to Bay destination magazine.

The 112-page glossy publication is making its debut this weekend with more than 220,000 copies being distributed via insertion in Sunday's New York Times in key cold-weather feeder markets throughout the Northeast and Midwest.

One of the most anticipated features is the all-new "Gulf Coasting" beach guide that unfolds within the magazine to give readers an in-depth look at all 35 miles of white sand beaches.

"We continue to evolve Gulf to Bay in ways that best capture what a dynamic and photogenic destination we have," said Visit St. Pete/Clearwater President & CEO David Downing.


Visit St. Pete/Clearwater To Partner with AT&T, NY Times, Virgin Holidays in 2017

St. Pete/Clearwater (Jan. 25, 2017) - Before a record crowd of some 500 tourism industry professionals at the new Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater (VSPC) this week unveiled new advertising creative and announced first-ever marketing partnerships as part of the destination's worldwide marketing plans for 2017.

The all-new, lifestyle-intensive creative employs a variety of imagery---from craft breweries to drone shots of Clearwater Beach and Caladesi Island to waterfront camping at Fort De Soto Park and sponge fishing in Tarpon Springs---and invites visitors to explore the destination with simple taglines, such as Feel It, Craft It, Live It, Love It.


Abbaticchio Tapped To Lead New VSPC Department

St.Pete/Clearwater (July 29, 2016) - Hospitality and marketing professional Jeff Abbaticchio has been named to the newly created position of Director of Community and Partnerships for Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, the destination marketing organization for Pinellas County, Florida.

Abbaticchio will be responsible for growing and developing the organization's relationships with a wide variety of industry partners, communicating the value of partnerships to VSPC stakeholders and developing and implementing new partnerships with hospitality-related brands and organizations on a local and regional level.

"We're fortunate to have Jeff join the VSPC team because he brings an amazing skill set and an impressive array of solid industry relationships with him," said VSPC Executive Director David Downing. "We believe this new position underscores our commitment to growing our existing industry relationships while forging new partnership opportunities as well."


Grouper Week 2016 Kicks Off With 'Food Truck Takeover'

St. Pete/Clearwater (June 27, 2016) - Grouper Week in St. Pete/Clearwater has taken on new life this year, featuring a food truck serving up free samples of the tasty local favorite throughout the destination, brand new social-style recipe demo videos and a new promo video voiced by actor Gary "Grouper" Busey.

For the second straight year, St. Pete/Clearwater is celebrating being the Grouper Capital of the World while the rest of the country takes in Discovery Channel's annual celebration of a different denizen of the deep.

From an impressive array of grouper dishes at area restaurants to fishing charters that let you catch your own to a selection of original grouper recipes from Florida's top chefs, Grouper Week has something for every seafood lover around.

The culinary promotion, which touts the flaky, white local favorite fish through July 3, is an evolution of the more traditional "Restaurant Week" concepts found in destinations around the world.