March 20, 2013 TDC Recap

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dear Industry Partner:

As usual, we have posted the agenda online on our industry website with clickable links to all of the individual monthly departmental reports.

2012 Visitation Grows Across All Markets
According to Research Data Services, visitation to the area increased by nearly 4% to more than 5.4 million overnight visitors in 2012, resulting a gain of more than 200,000 visitors to the area compared to 2011 figures. As a result of this growth, the economic impact of tourism to the area topped $7.2 billion, setting a new record for that metric. Every geographic market segment showed increases in 2012, led by the European market, which posted increases of more than 7% year-over-year.

January Bed Tax Continues Double-Digit Gains
January continued the trend of double-digit increases in the Tourist Development Tax , bringing in more than $2.2 million, which translates to a 14.48% increase year-over-year. This is the third month this fiscal year that saw double-digit increase, and with a quarter of the year now in the books, TDT collections are outpacing last year's record totals by nearly 12%, with more than $7.6 million collected. Early reports from February and March suggest high expectations for TDT gains in those months as well.

All New Tampa Airport Ads Installed; Digital Boards Tout USA TODAY Nod
Digital boards around the Tampa Bay area have been touting Clearwater's "Best Florida Beach Town" accolade bestowed on it in a recent USA Today readers' poll, a marketing outreach that has hit about a million impressions a week, according to VSPC's advertising agency, BVK. Also, brand new advertising collateral will be installed in the baggage claim carousel and in the six shuttles at Tampa International Airport, an outreach that is seen by an estimated 1.38 million travelers each month. Continues Record Visitation continues to attract record visitation, posting an 81% increase in visitors year-over-year in January 2013 and an 18% increase over December 2012. Of particular note was a record increase in traffic from the Canadian market, as well as traffic to the sweepstakes page, which logged more than 30,000 entries in February alone. The sweepstakes, which has been promoted heavily in the New York and Chicago area markets this winter, continues through April.

Save the Dates: National Tourism Week, Budget Workshop
VSPC will be celebrating National Tourism Week this year by hosting a tailgate party on Wednesday, May 8 in downtown St. Pete. The festivities will start with food, drink and fun at Ferg's on Central Avenue in the late afternoon, followed by admission to the Rays/Jays game at the Trop at 7:10 p.m. A "Save the Date" has already been sent out to industry, with details to follow in the coming weeks. Also, a TDC budget workshop is scheduled for Friday, May 10, at 10:30 a.m., and will take place at the EpiCenter's Collaborative Labs classroom. An official announcement will also be posted on

We hope you find this information valuable, and we look forward to a busy season.

See you at next month's TDC meeting at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, 2013.





David Downing
Deputy Director
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater