January 09, 2013 TDC Recap

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dear Industry Partner:

Below you'll find just a few highlights from this morning's Tourist Development Council meeting, the first one of 2013. As usual, we have posted the agenda online on our industry website with clickable links to all of the individual monthly departmental reports.
Emeril Lagasse to Appear at VSPC Press Conference Tomorrow (Thursday, Jan. 10)
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is teaming up with Visit Florida to put St. Pete/Clearwater cuisine on the map with Emeril Lagasse's latest series, Emeril's Florida . Emeril and the Cooking Channel production team will attend a press conference tomorrow (Thursday, Jan. 10) morning at 9 a.m. at Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach to promote both his new series and the St. Pete/Clearwater area's Gulf-fresh seafood. Thursday's Sandpearl shoot wraps up three days of filming around the area for episodes that will air in the coming months. St. Pete/Clearwater is one of six destinations being featured in its own episode during this first season.
Winter Campaign Launches in Top Two U.S. Feeder Markets: NYC and Chicago
As New York and Chicago solidified their top two spots in St. Pete/Clearwater's U.S. feeder markets, VSPC's annual winter marketing campaign, dubbed "iNeedSun," is launching in both markets. More than 100 separate media placements have blanketed Chicago's Union Station, prompting travelers with locally-themed questions like "Da Bears? How about Da Beach?" In New York, more than 500 subway trains will carry St Pete/Clearwater branded advertising, and double-decker buses will convince locals to go "From Bronx to Bronze." All of the messaging directs audiences to www.iNeedSun.com for a 4-month long sweepstakes where entrants can enter to win one of 30 three-day trips to St. Pete/Clearwater.
Vote Now for Clearwater in USA TODAY's Best Florida Beach Poll
Thanks to a nomination from Stephen "Dr. Beach" Leatherman---a Florida International University professor and coastal expert---Clearwater Beach is in the running to be named USA Today Travel's Best Florida beach destination. With just a week left in the voting, the world-famous Clearwater Beach is currently running neck-and-neck for the top spot. Vote online or by tweeting @USATodayTravel with "Clearwater" and #FLABeachTown.
November Bed Tax Posts Another Gain
Following a double-digit start to FY 2013, November's Tourist Development Tax marched forward with a 4% gain year-over-year, despite factors that typically slow travel, like a Presidential election year and early Thanksgiving---not to mention the potential for a downturn in travel from one of our key feeder markets due to Hurricane Sandy's aftermath. The additional $1.7 million in bed tax puts the 2-month old fiscal year already more than 10% ahead of last year's record-setting pace. 
And finally, our thanks and best wishes go out to VSPC's Office Manager, Sandy Galloway, who is retiring from the CVB this month after more than 30 years on the job. Sandy's sunny disposition, professional expertise and vast institutional knowledge will be greatly missed by all of us at Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, and by the greater Pinellas County tourism community. Good luck, Sandy!
Please note that starting next month and moving forward, all Pinellas County Tourist Development Council meetings will be held on the third Wednesday of each month, from 3-5 p.m., in the same location (BCC Meeting Room on the 5th floor).
See you at next month's TDC meeting at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.
David Downing
Deputy Director
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater