May 9, 2012 TDC Recap

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dear Industry Partner:

Below you'll find just a few highlights from this morning's monthly Tourist Development Council meeting. As usual, we have posted the agenda online on our industry website, with clickable links to all of the individual monthly departmental reports. Please note that each of these clickable agendas will be posted on this page of our industry site the Monday before the TDC meeting every month.

This past March Pinellas County set a new all-time record for single-month Tourist Development Tax collection, bringing in more than $4.5 million and raising the year-to-date totals to more than $13.9 million, which paces 12.6% above FY2012 projections. This total, which broke the previous record of $4.18 million set in March 2008, continues the record-setting trend starting back in 2011, as evidenced by the fact that seven of the past 12 months have recorded the highest ever Bed Tax totals ever for those months. The area also led the state in Average Daily Rate for the month of March, tipping another key tourism metric into uncharted territory.

On Tuesday of this week, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners approved the Tourist Development Council's $600,000 funding request for tourism marketing in conjunction with the Republican National Convention Kickoff Event, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, August 26, at St. Pete's Tropicana Field. The agreement will allow St. Pete/Clearwater to brand, promote and showcase Pinellas County to the delegates and media who will attend the convention, which will bring an estimated 33,000 room nights to Pinellas County and have a total economic impact of more than $32 million county-wide.

VSPC's online presence remained strong in March, with receiving the highest number of visits for the month of March since 2009. Other signals of intent to travel---such as Visitor Guide orders and views of the electronic Visitor Guide---were up by 20% and 25% respectively, compared to the previous month. Mobile website traffic also continued its momentum, with page views up by 42% and visits up by 39%. March was the final month of the online promotion of the Dolphin Tale contest, which resulted in more than 39,000 views to the video trailer and 40,000 contest entries in its seven month run.

The Big East Baseball Championship rolls into town May 22-27 at Florida's Bright House Field in Clearwater. The event will showcase the top eight teams, who will compete for the coveted conference title and the chance to advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. This popular tourney, which has been played in our area for seven out of the past eight years, brings nationwide recognition to the destination, fills hotel rooms, and keeps restaurants busy. Tournament week activities will include a free opening ceremony on May 22, with player autographs, and fireworks. The championship game will be played on Sunday, May 27 and broadcast live on ESPNU. For information on the tournament, schedules and tickets visit

ELITE EVENT COMMITTEE REVIEW SET FOR JUNE 5 Seven Tourist Development Council members volunteered to be on this year's Elite Event Review Committee, which will meet on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 to review qualified applications for the FY2013 Elite Event marketing program. The program's funding structure is divided into two separate categories: Category 1 events must have at least 25,000 attendees and/or generate at least 10,000 room nights and be nationally televised; Category 2 events must have at least 15,000 attendees and/or generate at least 5,000 room nights. Recommendations of the review the committee will be presented to the full TDC board for discussion and a vote. The meeting will be open to the public and media---an official notice will be sent out to industry once a time and a location have been finalized.

Amid all the positive news this month, there was one very sad bit of news discussed during the meeting: the death of Gary Sain, the head of the Orlando CVB, who passed away very suddenly last week after making a presentation in Orlando. He was a great friend to our area, and our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and his extended family at Visit Orlando.
Again, these are just a few highlights of the meeting. Also, as a reminder, in addition to the individual reports and online agenda, you can watch streaming video of the entire meeting, available online from Pinellas County Communications.



David Downing
Deputy Director
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater