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6/14/24

INDUSTRY NEWS

A Letter From President/CEO, Brian Lowack

St. Pete/Clearwater has been the center of attention on national television and beyond to start 2024, providing great exposure for all of Pinellas County.

Just over the first three months of the year, the destination has been showcased across national and international platforms of Peacock, NBC, ESPN, HGTV, Hallmark, and more, exposing millions of viewers to our beautiful beaches, vibrant downtowns, and charming communities.

On the sports side, not only have we welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors to our community for large events like the WWE Royal Rumble at Tropicana Field, the Clearwater Softball Invitational at the Eddie C. Moore Complex, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete on the streets of downtown St. Pete, and the PGA Valspar Championship at The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, but each of these events has reached millions more through their broadcasts. This exposure provides us the unique opportunity to truly show off the properties, venues, and experiences that make St. Pete/Clearwater the place to be. 

Our Film Commission has also secured prime placement across both the small screen and big screen with recent projects like HGTV’s #1 show, Rock the Block in Treasure Island, along with recent movies, A Taste of Love on Hallmark, shot in Dunedin, and The Throwback which held its big screen debut during March and is available to stream across major platforms. 

In addition to these sporting events and cinematic achievements, we have seen St. Pete/Clearwater highlighted as the place to visit on two national daytime programs – Good Morning America and the Kelly Clarkson Show. 

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater will continue to prioritize these high-visibility opportunities to inspire travelers to plan their next trip to this beautiful slice of paradise. 

Thank you for continuing to work alongside Visit St. Pete/Clearwater and event organizers to create memorable experiences for the participants, visitors, and viewers!

Solar Eclipse Beach Party

The Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater will team up to host an eclipse beach party on Monday, April 8 on Clearwater Beach. The first 2,500 visitors in attendance will receive specially designed collectible eclipse glasses, commemorating the 2024 solar eclipse.

During the eclipse period, expected to take place from 1:45–4:15 p.m., the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival will host a special live sand sculpting to celebrate the total solar eclipse. At its peak – approximately 3 p.m. local time – the Clearwater Beach area is expected to experience approximately 66% obscuration, which is bound to create a special viewing experience during our picturesque springtime sunshine. Beachgoers can pick up their complimentary eclipse glasses at the Visit St. Pete/Clearwater booth at the Sugar Sand Festival starting at noon. 

While the eclipse is celebrated locally at Clearwater Beach, the Visit St. Pete/Clearwater team will also be on site at the Total Solar Eclipse Event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Ind. The “Pit Stop in the Sun” promotion will remind the tens of thousands of attendees that even an eclipse can’t stop the sun shining in St. Pete/Clearwater, FL.

The Columbia Takes The Cuban Sandwich Crown!

Congratulations to Columbia Restaurant whose “Original Cuban Sandwich” was voted in a reader’s poll as “Florida’s Best Cuban Sandwich” by Southern Living magazine. The prestigious magazine, known as “The Voice of the Modern South for 57 Years,” will feature the results in “The South’s Best 2024” issue, which comes out in April.

 

More Honors for TPA

Tampa International Airport picked up more awards recently as Airports Council International ranked the facility #1 in its annual Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards among North American airports with 15-25 million passengers for calendar year 2023. The ASQ Awards, recognized globally as an industry-best airport customer experience measurement and benchmarking program, use passenger survey data to identify the industry’s best-performing airports around the world. 

TPA also received a 2023 Airport of the Year Award for Innovation from rideshare company Uber, lauding the airport’s unique Express Curbsides – a first-of-its-kind concept that gives guests an option to bypass the Ticketing and Baggage Claim levels at drop off and pick up – and describing Tampa International Airport as “an airport long regarded as customer experience-obsessed."

Dali Day Set for May 11!

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is teaming up with The Dali Museum to celebrate what would have been the artist’s 120th birthday on Saturday, May 11. Special entry price and a birthday celebration are on hand for the big day with additional Dalinian-themed activities. If you are interested in joining in on the fun, please send us an email with how you plan to recognize the special day – either through a special rate/package, menu item, or activity. 

Earth Day - April 22!

Earth Day is coming up on April 22. If you have any special activities planned to promote sustainability and promote a clean environment, please let us know so we can help promote!  

Mother's Day - May 12!

Are you setting up a special event to celebrate mom? Let us know if you have any special Mother’s Day programming we should know about so we can help spread the word!

ZooTampa's Latest Expansion

ZooTampa at Lowry Park’s latest expansion, Australia is now open! Guests can enjoy the new family-friendly ride, Aussie Trek, presented by Outback Steakhouse, where parents and kids can go on a safari immersed in Australia’s unique wildlife. The Koala Signature Encounter also returns, providing guests with the opportunity for a meet-and-greet with these furry friends! Families can cap off their day of wild adventures at Sunset Sips, and continuing into the evening with BOGO on domestic beers and specialty foods at the new Boomerang Bar.

Two New Routes to Tampa International Airport

The Breeze Airways route to Bangor International Airport will operate Mondays and Fridays beginning October 4, connecting the region to Tampa Bay for the first time. Breeze began a route to Portland, the state's largest city, last May. Breeze is also adding nonstop roundtrip flights on Mondays and Fridays to Pensacola in Florida's panhandle. Those flights begin June 28.

St. Pete/Clearwater Featured on Screen

Roommate Regret will debut on the Lifetime movie Network on April 11. Things get dangerous for a young, first-time homeowner after she rents her spare bedroom to a charming, British music producer who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Starring Veronica Long, Sam Benjamin, and Maryana Dvorska, the film was on location around he destination at Main Event Boxing Gym, Johnny’s restaurant and Pizza, Parkshore Grille, Three Birds Tavern, Clear Track Studios, St. Petersburg Police Department, and Straub Park.

Save The Date - The BESTIES Are Back!

Mark your calendars and save the date for the 2024 Best Of St. Pete/Clearwater Awards! Join us at 5:30 p.m. May 16 for an evening celebrating our community. Location and registration links will be provided soon. Stay tuned for more details as we finalize the arrangements. We are looking forward to celebrating our collective achievements.

Coming Soon! Elite Events Funding Application

The FY25 Elite Events Funding Application is coming soon! Be on the lookout for an update for more application information. Elite Events are a major driver of tourism to the area for both locals and visitors, and we are looking forward to this year’s applicants!

"Gulf To Bay" Educational Series

Join Visit St. Pete/Clearwater on June 12, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. to learn from our expert brand ambassador team all about our exciting destination! Register here for more information about beaches, arts, attractions, baseball and everything in between. This class will be great for front line employees or those looking for more destination education.

VSPC Internship Opportunity 

Visit St. Pete Clearwater has posted our 2024 Summer Internship Opportunity. It is a paid position ($20/hr) up to 30 hours a week learning about the tourism and hospitality industry. Know someone who is a good fit? Apply here! 

Submit Your Content!

Have a deal, discount, or special offer? Submit your deal to have a chance to be feature on the VSPC website! 

Submit your events for the opportunity to be featured on VSPC's website and keep visitors up to date with the latest news and events across the destination!

The St. Pete/Clearwater Film Commission is a central resource for film, TV, commercial, and other digital media projects filming in the destination. Submit your location to be a part of their database for the opportunity to be scouted by professional Location Scouts and Producers looking for places to film their next project!

VSPC TAKES ON MEXICO CITY

Latin America

The Latin America Department partnered with Visit Florida in the 2024 Mexico Integrated Trade and Media Mission, offering an exclusive opportunity to meet with 20 operators and provide training to over 130 travel professionals in Mexico City. The mission is ongoing in Guadalajara, providing further opportunities to promote the destination and the new Aeromexico daily flight starting July 1. The Latin American team provided training sessions to over 137 trade professionals in partnership with tour operators, Visit Florida, and Brand USA in Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico.

Global Travel & Leisure

 
WestJet's Brand Strategy & Activations team brought 12 winners of a social media contest to Dunedin for a Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training Game. WestJet is the official airline partner of the Toronto Blue Jays. Winners enjoyed roundtrip airfare + accommodations at the Fenway Hotel, Autograph Collection and enjoyed a game at TD Ballpark to watch their Blue Jays take on the NY Yankees. The group also included two Canadian influencers Kevin Wendt and his wife Astrid Loch as well as WestJet marketing staff. Rosemarie Payne, Director of Leisure Travel and Jason Latimer, Director of Public Relations for VSPC were on hand to welcome this VIP group from Canada.