September 19, 2013 TDC Recap

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dear Industry Partner:

Below you'll find just a few highlights from Wednesday morning's Tourist Development Council meeting. As usual, we have posted the TDC agenda online on our industry website with clickable links to all of the individual monthly departmental reports.

July Tax Collections Continue Record-Setting Pace

For the 24th-straight month, Tourist Development Tax  was on the rise. July posted another record month with a 9.4% increase year-over-year, which led to more than $2.86 million in collections. With two months left in FY2012-13, the bed tax is 8.9% ahead of last year's record pace, totaling more than $27 million. Though August collections might struggle year-over-year with last year's boost from RNC, expectations are high that another FY record will fall come September.

VSPC Awarded Gulf Promotional Grant for Second Straight Year

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater was awarded funding  to promote local gulf tourism and seafood through BP's Gulf Seafood and Tourism Promotional Fund. A total of 450 organizations applied for funding in 2013, but only 60 organizations were awarded grants, with individual funding amounts ranging from $25,000 to the maximum award of $500,000. Eleven of this year's recipients hailed from Florida, and both Visit St. Pete/Clearwater and Visit Florida, the state tourism board, were the only destination marketing organizations in the state to receive the maximum grant of $500,000.

Commitment to Copa Airlines Continues

Following the announcement of Copa Airlines new nonstop service from Panama to Tampa International Airport starting this December, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is continuing its work establishing the South American market. With connections to all major cities in Brazil and Colombia, Copa's service will effectively connect Tampa Bay to the entire Latin American market for the first time in the area's history. In addition to hosting numerous media and travel agent FAMs, VSPC is also establishing a new Latin American sales department, with a new director to be named by year's end.

Special Visit Brings Worldwide Attention to St. Pete/Clearwater

From NBC's Today Show to BBC's national morning show and to the Tampa Bay Times, Associated Press and local affiliates around the country, Cieran Kelso's inspirational visit to the area garnered worldwide attention. The energetic 8-year-old, who lost both his legs to meningitis as a baby and now swims with prosthetic flippers his dad designed, enjoyed a special swim with "Winter" at Clearwater Marine Aquarium that was seen around the world. You can watch the video here (just be sure to keep your Kleenex nearby).

Please note that our next regular TDC meeting will be at 9 a.m. on Oct. 16. Meanwhile, all of the regular monthly reports will be on file and posted online at

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