Local Tourism Receipts Shatter 2013 Record With One Month Left

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - 5:46pm

St. Pete/Clearwater (Oct. 8, 2014) - With September's Tourist Development Tax (TDT) still to be tallied, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater announced today that the August 2014 record total of more than $2.5 million officially pushed this year's collection past last year's high-water mark, putting the destination on track to collect some $35 million for FY14.

FY13's record-breaking total of $31.1 million placed the St. Pete/Clearwater area in what is known as a "high impact" tourism destination, which allows for the levying of a sixth cent on the local tourism tax. So far, Pinellas County officials have opted not to enact the extra cent tax, instead focusing on growing tourism receipts organically.

The August bed tax receipts pushed FY14's total over the $33 million mark, putting the running total into record territory with another month to go.

"Bed tax receipts are a major barometer of the overall health of the local tourism economy, but simultaneous rises in several other metrics---including occupancy rates, average daily room rates and revenue per available room---demonstrate our brand continues to gain traction with an ever-growing base," said VSPC interim director David Downing. "And we're working to capitalize on this momentum by increasing our marketing and advertising throughout the fall and winter months."

Initiatives designed to continue the record-breaking growth in the coming months include extending the local summertime campaign through early fall. In addition, first-ever wintertime TV campaigns in key cold-weather markets will launch months prior to major marketing initiatives in New York City and Chicago.

Other outreaches underway include two specialized campaigns---one in support of Clearwater Marine Aquarium's Dolphin Tale 2 and another promoting the groundbreaking Dali/Picasso exhibit, which opens at St. Pete's Dali Museum on Nov. 8.

"We're pleased with where things stand right now," said Downing. "And we have every intention of building on this incredible momentum moving forward."

David Downing
Interim Director