January 13, 2010 Meeting Recap

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dear Industry Partner:

Below you'll find a few highlights from this month's Tourist Development Council meeting. Due to several special presentations made at today's meeting, there was not enough time to present the individual monthly departmental reports live, but they are all complete and posted to our industry website, PinellasCVB.com. As always, we invite you to attend the meetings in person or view them at your leisure online at PinellasCounty.org.

Florida Huddle, the high-profile appointment show that matches tour operators with suppliers, will kick off at Clearwater's Harborview Center on January 24. The premier gathering of its kind, Huddle serves as a conduit for long-lasting connections---both business and social. With the event in our own backyard, our local industry will be hosting a distinguished group of international buyers and industry-leading journalists, as well as conducting two pre-show international sales fams. Sunday's welcome event comes in the form of a "Progressive Reception," with the group making stops at the Sandpearl Resort, the Clearwater Hilton and the Sheraton Sand Key. Monday night, Huddlers will get a sneak-peek at the brand-new Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa, which will open its doors for the first-time to host a poolside reception. On Tuesday morning, the Holiday Inn & Suites on Clearwater Beach will host a media breakfast, where media from around the globe will get the latest news and developments on the St. Pete/Clearwater area. For more information, visit FloridaHuddle.com.

Late last month, VSPC soft-launched its completely redesigned and reconceived website, VisitStPeteClearwater.com, which will feature all-new video and editorial content, as well as cutting edge horizontal navigation. This low-traffic time of year was specifically chosen for the soft launch, since the web designers from Miles Media and the CVB's in-house staff need time to test, troubleshoot and tweak the live site before the official unveiling later this month. We'll send out a release when the site is fully operational, but in the meantime please consider it to be "under construction" as we test the navigation and content and complete other finishing touches.

Dali Museum Director Hank Hine made a presentation to the TDC requesting funding for the new Dali Museum, which held a one-year-until-opening ceremony earlier this week. The museum is seeking $5 million in funding from the TDC in order to reach the total project cost of $36 million. After a period of discussion, the TDC voted to form a subcommittee, which will study the request and report its findings in the upcoming months.

Paul Till and Peter Olsen, founders of a non-profit company called Clean the World, made a plea to our local hospitality industry to join them in preventing childhood disease in third-world countries. Their company has a simple mission: to collect the 1.5 million bars of hotel soap discarded each day, sanitize them, and ship them to developing countries for distribution to poverty-stricken areas. According to the company, an estimated 3.5 million children die each year as a result of diarrheal disease and other hygiene-related illnesses, and simply providing soap to them can reduce that number by more than 60 percent. Together with Clean the World, the CVB will be planning a "Million Bars of Soap For Hope" drive later this year to encourage all local hoteliers to participate in this worthwhile endeavor. Stay tuned for details in the coming months. For more information, visit CleanTheWorld.org.

Again, these are just a few highlights of the meeting. Also, as a reminder, in addition to the streaming video of the entire meeting available from PCC TV, you can view all of the CVB's individual monthly departmental reports on our industry web site, PinellasCVB.com.

All of us at the CVB are looking forward to a successful Florida Huddle---and to working with all of you in 2010.

David Downing
Assistant Director
Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater