October 13, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dear Industry Partner:
Below you’ll find just a few highlights from this month’s Tourist Development Council meeting. As always, complete individual monthly departmental reports are available for viewing on our industry website, PinellasCVB.com.

Three TDC Members Reappointed, One Interim Named
By recommendation of the Board of County Commissioners and unanimous approval by the full Tourist Development Council, three long-standing TDC members---Russ Bond, Russ Kimball and Phil Henderson, Jr.---were all recommended for reappointment as TDC Board members to four year terms. On a related note, the TDC unanimously approved the interim appointment of St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster to the TDC position held by St. Petersburg City Council Chair Leslie Curran, who is recovering from serious injuries sustained in a bicycle accident on August 30. Foster served on the TDC for several years previously while a member of the St. Petersburg City Council.

Meetings and Conventions Team Sets New Room Night Record
The numbers are in, and it’s official: despite serious obstacles posed by the economy and continued negative perceptions resulting from the BP Oil Spill, VSPC’s Meetings and Convention team posted a record year in 2010, assisting area hotel partners in booking 102,688 room nights. They achieved this by participating in 21 tradeshows and hosting 17 client events across the US and Canada, as well as by wooing clients to site our destination. The team conducted 53 site inspections this year which averages approximately four visits a month.

VSPC’s 2011 Marketing Debut Set for November 3 at Mahaffey Theater
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater’s Annual Marketing Debut will take place on Wednesday, November 3 2010 at Mahaffey Theater in downtown St. Petersburg. Unveiled that evening will be details of VSPC’s new marketing campaign, which will replace the current Ambassador Campaign, as well as a sneak peek at an all new Visitors Guide featuring cutting-edge interactive elements that are sure to be an industry first. Industry partners can RSVP for the event here. In keeping with years past, this event will take the place of November’s regularly scheduled full TDC meeting, but all of the usual departmental reports, research and monthly statistics will be available on PinellasCVB.org by November 10.

Star Sightings, Area Traffic Jams Accompany Hollywood Film Crew on Location
Film Commissioner Jennifer Parramore reported that the filming of ‘Dolphin Tale’---the major motion picture based on and starring Winter the Dolphin---continues at locations throughout the county. While minor traffic delays around Clearwater Marine Aquarium created by production trucks and equipment---including one tractor trailer dedicated exclusively to an animatronic dolphin---are to be expected, the resulting influx of business from cast and crew is more than worth the inconvenience. Reports of star sightings continue as well---particularly of jazz man and Hollywood A-Lister Harry Connick Jr., who has reportedly been frequenting Dunedin’s Casa Tina Mexican Restaurant. The 10-week shoot is expected to wrap in early December.

New Ironman “5150” Event Set to Debut in Clearwater in 2011
On the heels of this week’s news that the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3 will be relocating to Henderson, Nevada, World Triathlon organizers have announced a replacement for that event starting in 2011. The Ironman 5150 is a brand-new global triathlon series that will take place in more than a dozen US locations, including Miami, NYC, and Washington DC, as well as in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The event gets its “5150” name from the cumulative 51.5 kilometer total of the individual elements of the race: a 1.5K swim, a 40K bike ride and a 10K run. The St. Anthony’s Triathlon and the Clearwater 5150 will be open events that will allow more athletes to participate, and the inaugural year is expected to draw some 2,000 athletes from the Unites States alone. For more information, see www.5150.com.

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, PinellasCVB.com.

David Downing
Assistant Director
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater