COVID-19 Industry Update
October 1, 2020
Fall has made its way to St. Pete/Clearwater with the first open-the-windows-and-turn-off-the-AC weather hitting the destination this week and with it comes some encouraging research that shows plenty of people will be traveling this fall.
According to Destination Analysts latest traveler sentiment research (Wave 29), almost 82% of travelers will be taking at least one regional trip (fewer than 250 miles from home) this fall and even more (85%) will be staying overnight during a trip this fall. On top of that, Florida remains the top destination with beach destinations in high demand.
With that in mind, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater (VSPC) continues to increase its digital marketing efforts with newly launched content partnerships with AFAR, TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet and Travel + Leisure. In addition, aggressive low-funnel programs will soon be launching with Travelzoo and Expedia.
Meanwhile, the VSPC marketing teams and its contracted agencies, BVK and Miles Partnership, are working on marketing creative and plans to launch after the Presidential Election and run through the cold-weather months in northern markets, as well as in-state.
VSPC’s Rise to Shine campaign continues growing with participation from hundreds of businesses across the destination and we’re still welcoming any type of business located in Pinellas County to join the free program. SIGN UP here to receive posters, decals, buttons, masks and the digital toolkit.
Reminder to our tourism partners throughout Pinellas County, the countywide face covering ordinance remains in effect. In addition, bars and restaurant patrons must be seated to be served drinks for on-site consumption.
TPA LAUNCHES NATIONS'S FIRST COVID-19 TESTING
Tampa International Airport, in partnership with BayCare Health System, has launched the country’s first airport testing pilot that offers two types of FDA-approved COVID-19 tests for all departing and arriving passengers. The testing site, located inside the Main Terminal near the Airside F shuttle, offers both the rapid antigen test and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. PCR test results are the most accurate and broadly accepted internationally. Interested travelers can purchase either test regardless of which airline they’re booked on, their gate location or destination. Testing services are offered on a walk-in basis starting today to Oct. 31st from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. The PCT test costs $125 and the antigen test costs $57.
FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETE SET TO HOST SPECTATORS FOR OCT. 23 - 25 WEEKEND
Officials from St. Pete and Green Savoree St. Petersburg announced today that the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, rescheduled to Oct. 23-25, will be open to spectators. The event was postponed from its original date in March. The City approved the event’s plan to operate with 20,000 spectators under specific health and safety protocols detailed here. Competitors, spectators, and all associated with the event will be subject to a health screening and temperature check before entry is permitted. All attendees will be required to wear masks or facial coverings at all times unless when eating or drinking. The race will serve as the NTT IndyCar Series finale. The 2021 race dates were also announced on Thursday with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete taking place March 5-7.
TASTE OF THE BEACHES HAPPENING THIS FRIDAY-SUNDAY
Indulge in more than 25 restaurants as part of this year’s Taste of the Beaches, put on by the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber. In an effort to drive business to local restaurants that need it, Taste of the Beaches tickets can be purchased for $10 each, picked up at the chamber office and then redeemed at any of the participating restaurants for a “taste” starting Friday and running through Sunday.
ST. PETE/CLEARWATER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT OUTFITTED WITH RISE TO SHINE SIGNAGE
As part of the Rise to Shine county-wide campaign, St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport (PIE) was outfitted with new signage, including seat dividers, floor decals and restroom decals, this week. The signage reminds passengers to keep their distance and to adhere to the county’s indoor face covering ordinance.
DAVID YATES NAMED 2020 FILM FLORIDA LEGENDS TOURISM AMBASSADOR
Former Executive Director and CEO of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) David Yates was named the 2020 Film Florida Legends Tourism Ambassador. The award, presented by Film Florida, honors legends in the entertainment industry that are true ambassadors for Florida. Yates was honored for his time at CMA as well as being largely responsible for introducing Winter the Dolphin to the world in Dolphin Tale and then Hope the dolphin in Dolphin Tale 2.
PRIDE RUN SERIES COMING TO ST. PETE IN 2021
In partnership with Compete Sports Diversity, St. Pete Pride and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, the Pride Run Series is coming to St. Pete on June 26, 2021. Pride Run St. Pete joins Las Vegas and Phoenix and will feature an in-person 5K, 300-yard Diva Dash and virtual run. “We are excited to be partnering with Florida’s largest Pride celebration,” said tournament director Dan Shabra. “The team at Visit St. Pete/Clearwater made the decision to include the city in our series easy.” Registration is available.