January 15, 2014 TDC Recap

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dear Industry Partner:

Below you'll find just a few highlights from Wednesday morning's Tourist Development Council meeting. As usual, we have posted the TDC agenda online on our industry website along with all of the individual monthly departmental reports.

Tax Collections Officially Surpass $30 Million Total for 2013
In addition to the November Tourist Development Tax numbers, which showed a 12.5% growth over last year, the Pinellas County Tax Collectors Office announced that with just the first two weeks of December's collections totaled Visit St. Pete/Clearwater has officially surpassed the $30 million goal to become a high-impact tourism destination. And with the last two weeks of December still to be counted, the County is more than $2 million ahead of the previous calendar year record set in 2012.

Additionally, the economic impact of tourism on the county is now estimated at some $8.26 billion for 2013, an increase of approximately $500 million over 2012. While national economic indicators predict modest growth in the coming year, VSPC is expecting steady growth in 2014 from the UK and Germany and strong growth from Latin American markets.

Strong Advertising Efforts Launch in Winter Feeder Markets
A major advertising campaign just launched in significant northern feeder markets, including New York, Chicago and Toronto. The "I Need Sun" campaign, which runs from January to March, includes major outdoor pieces, such as bus wraps and video ads on in-elevator display screens that show local vs. St. Pete/Clearwater temperatures in real time. Additionally, VSPC has an array of unique marketing initiatives planned for this winter, including branded coffee sleeves, snow stamps and large snow sculptures in high profile areas around in New York City and Chicago. All of the messaging directs consumers to iNeedSun.com where they can enter to win a week-long getaway.

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater Partners with Florida's Natural
As part of the first nationwide marketing partnership with Florida's Natural, 12 million orange juice cartons displaying VSPC's brand are hitting supermarket shelves around the country. Each includes a St. Pete/Clearwater vacation sweepstakes teaser on the front panel, as well as an entire side panel dedicated to a VSPC brand ad that directs consumers to enter to win a week-long trip to the area, referred to as "the natural choice for a beach getaway," at FloridasNaturalBeaches.com.

VSPC Media and Partner Website Set to Launch

VSPC has soft-launched an innovative website dedicated for media and industry partners alike. The new website, which was built using responsive technology, increases usability and also provides a wide range of digital content to media outlets without the need to leave the site for further content-especially high-resolution photography, interactive maps and HD video content. The website already won a Gold Award from the prestigious Adrian Awards.

Again, these are just a few highlights of the meeting. Please note that our next regular TDC meeting will be at 9 a.m. on February 19, 2014. Meanwhile, all of our regular monthly reports are on file and posted online at  PinellasCVB.com.



David Downing
Deputy Director
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater