January 11, 2012 TDC Recap

Wednesday, January 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 age nda online on our industry website, with clickable links to all of the individual monthly depar tmental reports. Please note that each of these clickable agendas will be posted on this page of our industry site the Monday before the TDC meeting every month.

2011 Overnight Visitation Tops 5.2 Million, Nears All-Time Record Walter Klages of Research Data Services reported that the number of total overnight visitors to Pinellas County in calendar year 2011 came in at 5,235,200, an increase of nearly 200,000 visitors. Of that total, more than half stayed in local accommodations (2.7 million), with the remainder (2.52 million) falling into the "VFR" (visiting friends/relatives) category. This number nears the all- time record for visitation of 5.3 million overnight visitors, which was set back in 2007. For Klages' full report, with a breakdown of the number of visitors from each of the area's major feeder markets, click here.

Strong Showing for VSPC at Global Travel Show Executive Director DT Minich and Senior Public Relations Manager Mary Haban headed to London to represent VSPC at World Travel Market. Armed with a Winter the Dolphin-themed booth, the pair---along with a contingent of industry partners---met with media members and key decision makers from prized tour operator outfits across the globe. They also met with members of the Visit Florida UK team, and Haban attended a "Tweet Up," during which more than four dozen travel bloggers from across Europe tweeted about the various destinations. The high-profile show in London also served as the backdrop for a major announcement from the Corporation for Tourism Promotion on the launch of Bran d USA, a unified entity aimed to promote international travel to the United States.

Boys (and Girls) of Summer on Deck in St. Pete/Clearwater We are now officially less than six weeks away from pitchers and catchers descending on the area for Spring Training. The Sports Commission's Senior Sports Sales Manager Angel Natal reports that his team is gearing up for the return of the Philadelphia Phillies to Clearwater and the Toronto Blue Jays to Dunedin. Natal expects another strong season of visitation with the Northeast United States and Canada serving as key feeder markets for VSPC and with both clubs expecting to field a strong team. In the month of November, Natal attended national conventions for the National Softball Association and the Amateur Softball Association of America---an effort that was instrumental in bringing future business to the St. Pete/Clearwater area.

Film Commission Reports National Exposure, Economic Increase On the heels of the success of Dolphin Tale, the area welcomed another major motion picture to St. Pete/Clearwater with the filming of Sunlight Jr. Beginning in November, the film---which is written by critically acclaimed writer- director Laurie Collyer and stars Matt Dillion and Naomi Watts---shot on location at several county spots. In addition, NBC's America's Got Talent was on-hand to film beauty shots of the area, gathering footage of several attractions, including John's Pass, to be included in the Tampa Bay auditions show. Local economic impact as a result of film initiatives totaled $515,000 in November, nearly doubling that monthly figure from 2010.
Again, these are just a few highlights of the meeting. Also, as a reminder, in addition to the individual reports and online agenda, you can watch streaming video of the entire meeting, available online from Pinellas County Communications.



David Downing
Deputy Director
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater