May 12, 2010 TDC Meeting Recap

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dear Industry Partner:

Below you'll find just a few highlights from this month's Tourist Development Council meeting. Individual monthly departmental reports, which were presented in full by department representatives, are complete and posted to our industry website, As always, we invite you to attend the meetings in person or view them online at your leisure at

This Saturday marks the start of US Travel Association's International Pow Wow, which is the travel industry's premier international marketplace and the largest generator of international travel. The show, which draws more than 1,000 travel organizations from every region of the US and close to 1,500 International and domestic buyers from more than 70 countries, generates more than $3.5 billion in future travel to the US. In addition to conducting more than 80 scheduled appointments, VSPC will have a major marketing presence at this year's gathering, including sponsorship of delegate name badges, custom-themed billboards and show floor booths touting our beaches' proximity to Orlando, and custom-printed Visitor Guides that will be inserted into delegates welcome bags.

Today in a letter to BP, Governor Charlie Crist requested funds for an emergency campaign, established immediately and continuing through July, which will require an estimated $24.75 million. The Governor also requested an additional $10 million in marketing support for the 19 counties under the current emergency order---including Pinellas---beginning in May and continuing through September. The campaign, managed by Visit Florida, would include broadcast television and radio, print, online and social marketing, targeting in-state, domestic and international travelers. The purpose is to counter the false information potential visitors are receiving about the oil spill's impact on Florida's beaches and waters. BP has yet to respond to the request, and we will keep you updated on the developments as we learn them.

Kevin Smith, director of the St. Pete/Clearwater Sports Commission, presented a report on area facilities used to accommodate sports tourism related events. Smith touched on those facilities that are currently utilized and those that have the potential to be upgraded or expanded, noting that there were opportunities for several to improve their availability, affordability and accessibility. While large-scale lacrosse and soccer events that would exceed 1,500 room nights a weekend are interested, they require a minimum of six full-size tournament quality fields at one site---something the area is currently lacking. To help alleviate the issue, Smith outlined steps that other communities throughout the state have done to improve their business by building and/or improving venues, allowing them to host an increased number of events. Council members requested a second report be presented at next month's meeting that identifies and prioritizes a short list of near-term facility improvements that could be presented to municipalities throughout the county for consideration.

VSPC kicked-off National Travel and Tourism Week with an annual luncheon on Friday, May 7, welcoming industry partners to the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort on St. Pete Beach for an afternoon program that included a keynote by branding expert Michael Bierut and a presentation by Clean the World, which recycles hotel soap and distributes it in third-world nations. Paying homage to the upcoming opening of the Chihuly Collection in downtown St. Pete, guests were given glass blown ornaments adorned with ribbons stating 'Know Your Brand, Love Your Brand.' The luncheon concluded with a short video made by CVB staff, who scoured the county interviewing both tourists and industry members about the importance of tourism and their shared love for St Pete/Clearwater. Several of our friends from Tampa Bay & Company attended the luncheon, a move reciprocated by VSPC staffers on Tuesday. Later that day, the two bureaus teamed up to co-host a Rally for Tourism at Tampa International Airport. With the help of our industry partners---not to mention the Busch Gardens' Mystic Sheiks of Morocco---we were able to get our message out to the media and be a part of the national movement.

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,

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