November 23, 2016 TDC Recap

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Dear Industry Partners:

Below you'll find a few highlights from this month's Tourist Development Council meeting. We have posted the TDC agenda online, along with our monthly department reports. Watch the meeting online here.

Fiscal Year Bed Tax Total Approaches $50 Million

St. Pete/Clearwater's record-setting toursim set a new milestone continued as Tourist Development Tax collections for fiscal year 2015-16 reached $49.5 million, including more than $3 million in September alone, besting last year's total by more than $10.5 million. That 12-month total included an extra 1% of bed tax that started accumulating in January, which totaled nearly $7 million by itself. At the 5% level, the fiscal year total still topped last year's by nearly 9%. Spurring September's success were solid increases by Average Daily Rate at 5.1% and Revenue per Available Room at 5.9%. Calendar year TDT totals, which will be released in early 2017, are expected to officially top the $50 million mark.

World Travel Market Update:

Brexit Effect and Growing Competition Visit St. Pete/Clearwater Executive Director David Downing---along with incoming BCC/TDC Chair Janet Long and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater team members---attended World Travel Market, the world's second largest travel show, last week in London and there were some prevailing themes from industry who attended. While the UK market has continued to show growth year-over-year as the area's number one international market, growing concerns from tour operators and travel agents included increases in room rates, the prevalence of resort fees and diminished inventory availability for peak travel times. Competitive concerns include increased interest in all-inclusive packages to other destinations (mostly to the Caribbean, noticeable decreases in booking of twin-center holidays (ie: Orlando-only) and Dubai continuing to rise as a beach destination for holiday makers.

All New Marketing Campaign To Be Unveiled Jan. 23; Co-Op Meeting Dec. 1

Mark your calendars! Visit St. Pete/Clearwater will conduct its Co-Op Advertising Program Information Session at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1. Upcoming cooperative advertising opportunities will be unveiled, including highly visible, low-cost online ads on YouTube and email programs, along with ways to reach the highly qualified visitors on If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Katie Marvin by Monday, Nov. 28. The second big event is from 4-7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 23 when Visit St. Pete/Clearwater will unveil its all-new advertising campaign at the stunning new Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach. Please add that event to your calendar and stay tuned for more information.

TDC Welcomes New Member, Trisha Rodriguez

Clearwater Ferry owner and operator Trisha Rodriguez joined the dais at this month's meeting after being appointed to the TDC by the Board of County Commissioners last month. Before starting the Clearwater Ferry last year, Trisha has managed The Tropics Boat Tours on Clearwater Beach. Congratulations, Trish---we look forward to putting your experience and talents to work for the Pinellas County tourism industry!

Again, these are just a few highlights. We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting at 9 a.m. on December 21.

David Downing
Executive Director