July 8, 2009 TDC Meeting Recap

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dear Industry Partner:

Below you'll find highlights from this morning's Tourism Development Council meeting. These updates are designed to keep our industry partners up-to-date with developments in the St. Pete/Clearwater area tourism community, and to provide a thumbnail of the agenda items discussed at monthly TDC meetings. As always, we invite you to attend the meetings, all of which are archived and can be viewed at your leisure on PinellasCounty.org.

The Leisure Sales and PR Departments have again joined forces for a baseball-themed event to be held August 24 in Toronto, drawing attention to the St. Pete/Clearwater area. Representatives from the Tampa Bay Rays will participate as well, and all industry attendees---from sales reps to media---will be eligible for St. Pete/Clearwater area vacation giveaways. The event will be preceded by a three-day Montreal-area media and sales blitz where VSPC will meet with key representatives from Itravel2000.com and the Canadian Automobile Association Quebec, as well as attend a Thomas Cook Canada product launch.

Fulfillment of requests for VSPC Visitors Guides has more than tripled for the months of May and June of this year, bringing the two-month total number of guides distributed to over 23,000. Aggressive marketing in print ads, consumer emails and on the VSPC website have led to pronounced increases in the conversion rate for these guides. Also, in keeping with our commitment to green practices, those preferring a paperless guide can download a digital version of the complete Visitors Guide at http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/milesmedia/stpeteclearwater09/.

The Sports Commission beat out destinations in six other states to land the Southeastern Bowling Association's 2011 tournament following a bid presentation in Augusta, Georgia in June. Proposals from locations in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee were submitted for this five-week-long event, which is expected to draw some 500 teams and produce an estimated 7000 to 9000 room nights. But in the end the event was awarded to Pinellas County, who will host the event in mid-2011.

Last month at their Board of Directors and Sales and Marketing Meetings at Innisbrook Resort, officials from Visit Florida announced major changes to their international marketing efforts including:

-No advertising dollars have been allocated in the UK and European markets for FY 2010, which began July 1, 2009.

-Cancellation of their contract with their full-time PR agency in the UK market.

-Cessation of full-time sales representation in Canada.

Being responsible for the marketing of a destination that depends on international visitation---particularly UK and German markets---I expressed my grave concern over this plan and asked them to reconsider. Representatives from other major CVB's around the state voiced concern as well, and we are waiting to hear whether they plan to revisit some of these decisions. We will, of course, keep you posted on this situation.

Just a reminder that the TDC will be observing the longstanding tradition of taking an August recess, so our next meeting will be September 9 at 9 AM. We invite all of you to attend.

Also, 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, within 24 hours of the original broadcast. And for daily updates on pertinent news regarding the tourism industry, be sure to visit our Facebook and Twitter pages.

As always, we appreciate your feedback and value your participation in our continuing efforts to promote tourism to Pinellas County.


DT Minich, CDME
Executive Director
Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater