April 11, 2012 TDC Recap

Wednesday, April 11, 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 a genda online on our industry website, with clickable links to all of the individual monthly de partmental reports. Please note that each of these clickable agendas will be posted on t his page of our industry site the Monday before the TDC meeting every month.

February 2012 Bed Tax Collections Shoot up 17%, Area Leads State in RevPAR
Tourist Development Tax (TDT) numbers increased 17.24% over the same time period last year. With a gross amount of $2,820,459.54, February's figures etched a new high-mark for Fiscal Year 2012. After seeing positive year-over-year gains for each month of this Fiscal Year, TDT numbers are averaging a 13.12% increase, collecting more than $9.6 million in gross tax revenue. Walter Klages of Research Data Services reported that the area led the state in February for increase in RevPAR, which is one of the major barometers used to track tourism receipts.

Mayor Cretekos Welcomed to Board; New Member Applications Due April 20
Welcome goes out to the Tourist Development Council's newest member, Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, who was officially approved to take over the seat formerly held by Frank Hibbard. We're delighted to have Mayor Cretekos join the TDC and look forward to working with him in the future. Also, as a reminder, applications are still being accepted for the TDC's lone open seat. The position is for any person directly involved with the tourism industry who has demonstrated an interest in tourism development, but is not an owner/operator of a hotel or motel. Interested parties should submit a brief bio or resume outlining their eligibility to serve, as well as a letter expressing the desire to be considered for an appointment. Applications should be addressed to VSPC Executive Director D.T. Minich, 13805 58th St. N., Suite 2-200, Clearwater, FL, 33760- 3733. Submissions must be received by the close of business on Friday, April 20.

TDC Approves Funds for RNC Welcome Event at Tropicana Field
Following a funding request from the Republication National Convention Host Committee, the TDC approved the commitment of up to $600,000 in reserve funds which will be used for an RNC welcome event at the start of the convention week this August. That event, which is designed to highlight the entire Tampa Bay region to both delegates and media, is scheduled to take place at St. Petersburg's Tropicana Field. The funding request will next go before the Board of County Commissioners in May, where it will be presented for discussion and approval.

Big East Baseball, Water Polo Tourney on Tap for May, June
The BIG EAST Baseball Championship returns to Clearwater's Bright House Field next month for the sixth time in the last seven years. The annual conference tournament is the first postseason step for players with hopes of advancing to college baseball's mecca--- Omaha, Nebraska---and the College World Series. ESPN will be on site to broadcast the championship game live on Sunday, May 27. With the event up for renewal, the St. Pete/Clearwater Sports Commission, which will once again host the tourney in partnership with the Clearwater Threshers, is asking local fans to pack the parks to demonstrate the area's interest. Stay tuned for more information on game times and locations. In June, the Sunshine State Games Water Polo Championships will bring 50 teams to the area, with male and female competitors ranging from 12 and under to 40+. Matches will take place at the Long Center in Clearwater and at the North Shore Pool in St. Petersburg.

Area Gets Cameo in Longoria's New Red Bull Air Race Video
The Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria has gotten plenty of air time since taking Major League Baseball by storm in 2008, but none of that involved blind spins in an airplane. The third baseman stars in a short vignette found on RedBullUSA.com, in which five-time U.S. National Aerobatic Champion and two-time Red Bull Air Race World Champ, Kirby Chambliss, takes Longoria on a wild sky ride over the St. Pete/Clearwater area. Tropicana Field, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and the area's emerald- green water serve as the backdrop as Chambliss performs snap rolls, blind spins and end-over-end cartwheels, with Longo aboard and in awe.

Again, these are just a few highlights of the meeting. In addition to the individual reports and online agenda, you can watch streaming video of the entire meeting, available online from Pinellas County Communications.

Also, on a personal note, we'd like to thank Commissioner John Morroni for taking time out to co-chair today's TDC meeting. We wish him a speedy recovery as he resumes his treatment regimen next month, and we look forward to his returning to his BCC and TDC post later this summer.



David Downing
Deputy Director
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater