August 19, 2015 TDC Recap

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dear Industry Partners:

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

Visitation Metrics Continue Record-Breaking Momentum 
For the 22nd straight month Tourist Development Tax collections increased year-over-year, jumping by 11%. This is the fifth straight year June has increased by double digits, which has taken it from $1.8 million in 2010 to $3.5 million this year. Contributing to the high-water marks was a state-high 9.4% increase in Average Daily Rate (ADR) and a 11.3% jump in Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR), which was the second highest in Florida. The continued growth put FY14-15 collections 12.6% higher than a year ago and above the $30 million mark with three months remaining. And despite record-setting rainfall in July and August, early indications from area hoteliers are positive.

Sports, Meetings Debut New Responsive Design Websites
Following the technology trend of, the St. Pete/Clearwater Sports Commission and VSPC Meetings and Conventions team debuted new responsive design websites this summer. Among other new features the sports site features a new Olympian recruitment tool dubbed "Ready. Set. Rio!" to bring the world's best athletes to train in St. Pete/Clearwater, which is an International Olympic Committee recognized training site, for the 2016 Olympic Games. The meetings site covers everything for prospective planners, including a new medical meetings marketing effort, which drove an increase of website visits by more than 1900%.

Research Shows Optimism for Travel, Surprises for Generational Travel Interests
The latest research detailed in the bi-annual State of the American Traveler , which is sponsored by Miles Partnership, shows consumers remain optimistic about taking trips and spending more for those trips over the next 12 months. Since January---the last time the research was conducted---both categories have jumped by several percentage points, which can loosely be linked to the continued decline in gas prices. Travelers are also more often turning to user-generated content and social media for planning trips, while still valuing destination marketing resources like its website and print materials. Some surprises include Millenials and Gen Xers seeking more cultural and culinary experiences than Baby Boomers.  Click here for the complete findings.

Unique Sports Event Scheduled for September
For the first time ever, more than 3,000 Filipino basketball players will descend on St. Pete/Clearwater for the 39th Annual Philippine Intercity Basketball of North America Tournament taking place Labor Day weekend---Sept. 5 and 6. In addition to hosting the basketball tourney, the Sports Commission has also booked PIBNA's golf tournament.
This meeting was largely dedicated to the efforts of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater staff from the past couple months. The TDC plans to continue discussions of the 6th percent tax distribution as it relates to the Tourist Development Plan in October. September's TDC meeting is canceled, so the next meeting will be from 9 a.m.-noon on Wednesday, Oct. 21. We hope to see you there.

David Downing
Executive Director