November 14, 2012 TDC Recap

Wednesday, November 14, 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.

September TDT Collections Solidify Record-Breaking Year

The area's record-breaking Tourist Development Tax Collection year finished with September skyrocketing 14.09% year-over-year, making it the eighth month this FY to register double-digit increases. With September's numbers officially closing FY 2012, the annual total for Pinellas County's tax collections came in at $28.7 million, shattering the previous record set in 2008 by more than $2.4 million, and outpacing the year-over-year total by 12.35%. In short, FY 2012 was the single highest grossing year for bed tax collections in the history of Pinellas County.

World Travel Market Update: Area #1 FL Beach Choice for UK Market

World Travel Market, which took place last week in London's Excel Centre, yielded some very positive results and useful market intelligence for the St. Pete/Clearwater tourism community. Major UK tour operators reported that overall Florida bookings are starting to increase after 2-3 years of stagnation, but that the majority of bookings are now taking place within 3 months of travel, an unusually short window for this market. Still, major tour operators are reporting increases in bookings to St. Pete/Clearwater---including BA Holidays, which reported increases of 50%---with most reporting that we are their biggest selling beach destination in Florida. This leading market position is the result of VSPC's proactive UK co-op marketing campaigns (which continue to drive business our way instead of other Florida beach destinations) and the the growth of the twin center holiday, which pairs a beach vacation with an Orlando-area theme-park experience. Sees Record Year, Enhancements on Deck

Consistent with increases in visitation to St. Pete/Clearwater, traffic to has seen a dramatic spike in web traffic for FY 2012 as well, with website visits jumping almost 60% and page views soaring beyond 4 million---a 40% increase.'s mobile platform has performed well in its first year, with visits topping 100,000. Stay tuned for changes to the website in the coming year, which include more localized information, interactive maps and a new feature that allows visitors to create itineraries based on what kind of experience they're looking to have, from romantic to laid-back to action-packed.

SUBWAY Promotion Leads to National Exposure

Throughout the month of September, VSPC popped up across America in more than 25,000 SUBWAY locations and on national TV spots as the official vacation destination for "SUBprize September," a month-long promotion with the world's largest restaurant chain. The St. Pete/Clearwater area was featured on SUBWAY's TV ads and online with SUBWAY's more than 18 million Facebook fans, 5 million e-newsletter customers and 700,000 Twitter followers. This marks the first time VSPC has partnered with the Milford, Conn.-based industry giant, but expect to see more of these kinds of major cross-promotional partnerships in the coming months and years, a result of outreaches by the promotions arm of our advertising agency, BVK.

We hope you find this information valuable, and we look forward to continuing the record-setting year as it winds down.  

See you at next month's TDC meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 9 a.m. 




David Downing
Deputy Director
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater