April 22, 2016 TDC Recap

Friday, April 22, 2016

Dear Industry Partners:

Below you'll find a few highlights from this week's Tourist Development Council meeting. We have posted the TDC agenda online, along with our monthly department reports.

Bed Tax Increases For 30th Straight Month Thanks To Strong ADR
For the 30th straight month Pinellas County Tourist Development Tax collections increased year-over-year with February bed tax totaling $5.1 million. It netted a 7% year-over-year increase, plus an additional $852,361 from the extra 1% Pinellas County began levying in January. The growth was aided by a 6.6% increase in Average Daily Rate (ADR) that was the second highest in the state for February. Five months into FY16, TDT collections are outpacing last year's record-setting pace by 21.5%, leading into the busiest stretch of the year (March-July).

VSPC Website Study Shows $52 Million Return On Investment
After investing in a new responsive design website, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater launched a year-long in-depth return on investment study conducted by Miles Partnership and Destination Analysts for VisitStPeteClearwater.com. The newly released results, which were based on more than 14,000 online visitor surveys, showed the site generated more than 33,000 visits to St. Pete/Clearwater with a length of stay of 3.7 days. In addition, the study attributed 1,226 additional vacation days spent in destination thanks to the site. In total, the study said VisitStPeteClearwater.com generated more than $52 million in economic impact (or $46.30 per unique visitor to the site) from February 2015-February 2016.

Tim Burton Lauds Film Commission For Help On Recent Project
Earlier this week, VSPC Film Commissioner Tony Armer sat down with director Tim Burton at the Loews Don CeSar on St. Pete Beach to discuss his experiences filming Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children  in the area last year. Armer's interview with Burton will be released in advance of the Sept. 30 release of Burton's film, which was awarded a grant from the Film Commission to shoot in the area. Earlier this month, the commission also helped execute a commercial shoot with Airline for America, the country's oldest and largest airline trade association, which prominently featured Tarpon Springs at Fred Howard Park and Sunset Beach, where the crew captured footage of horses running along the shore.

Officials: Red Tide Lingering Along Coast In Low Concentrations
Earlier this week VSPC staff participated in a statewide conference call with the Florida Department of Health, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) regarding the red tide bloom in the Gulf of Mexico. The latest information and satellite imagery shows low concentrations of red tide on the middle to southern edges of Pinellas County and in Tampa Bay. There have been no reports of fish kills or respiratory issues this week. For now, off-shore tides and winds are helping limit the effects of the bloom. For more red tide information, reference this FWC website. Of particular use is FWC's red tide FAQ page, which provides helpful answers for visitors and residents alike.

Again, these are just a few highlights.

Please don't forget to RSVP to our National Travel & Tourism Week event, taking place from 4-7 p.m. next Thursday at the Largo Cultural Center. See you there!


David Downing
Executive Director