March 20, 2014 TDC Recap

Thursday, March 20, 2014
Dear Industry Partner:

Below you'll find just a few highlights from Wednesday'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 Continue Record-Setting Climb
Record-setting Tourist Development Tax numbers haven't shown any signs of slowing down. An 8.7% year-over-year increase in January was the fifth-straight month of gains and the 27th time in the past 28 months to see a jump. January's more than $2.4 million in tax collections pushed FY2013-14 totals past the $8.5 million mark, more than 11.8% higher than last year's record-setting pace. All of this before the destination's busiest three months---February, March and April. Sees Massive Increase In Traffic shattered its previous visitation record with an increase of more than 100% in January. The dramatic jump is directly related to the two national marketing campaigns funneling consumers to , the landing pages for two different sweepstakes highlighting St. Pete/Clearwater. Collectively the campaigns have garnered, more than 710,000 page views, 200,000 entries and 15,000 e-newsletter sign-ups.
Travel Guru Peter Greenberg Showcases St. Pete/Clearwater
National travel authority Peter Greenberg, who visited the destination last summer, chronicled his experiences of St. Pete/Clearwater as part of his new nationally-televised PBS show "The Travel Detective." In the fast-paced 30-minute program, Greenberg uncovers hidden gems throughout St. Pete/Clearwater in Tarpon Springs, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, The Dali Museum and John's Pass. To watch the segments that aired on PBS stations across the country, click here.
Travel Expectations for 2014 On The Rise
The bi-annual State of the American Traveler  brought more good news for the travel sector. It showed sustained optimism domestically for both travel volume and spending as the United States is among the most enthusiastic markets. Even more encouraging is that emerging international markets like China and Brazil show great promise with dramatic increases in travel. In Brazil alone, 67% said they will travel more internationally than they did last year. The report is lengthy, but every sector of the travel industry can pull useful information from it.
Latin American Market Shows Great Interest In St. Pete/Clearwater 
Latin America Sales Director, Ana Fernandez, just completed a seven-city tour in Panama, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Ecuador where she saw high demand for the St. Pete/Clearwater area. That bodes well as non-stop air service with Copa Airlines from Tampa International Airport to Panama City, Panama was added just two months ago. The efforts will continue in Chicago next month at International Pow Wow, the largest travel tradeshow hosted by the U.S. Travel Association.
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 April 16. Meanwhile, all of our regular monthly reports are on file and posted online at


David Downing
Deputy Director
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater