As the destination’s visitation slows due to seasonality, we want to take the opportunity to celebrate another successful month for St. Pete/Clearwater with record-breaking Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections. Outperforming June’s $8.2 million, July 2021 is one for the record books with $8.5 million---an incredible 46 percent increase over 2019’s record. 

This marks five straight months with TDT collections crossing the $7.7 million total. A driving factor for the continued success is Average Daily Rate (ADR), which saw a 34% increase from July 2019, averaging at $199.67 per night. 

Last week, several VSPC staff members attended the annual Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism (GC) in Hollywood, FL. Visit St. Pete/Clearwater proudly accepted the highest honor, the Henry Flagler Award in the Creativity in Public Relations category for a virtual FAM of the St. Pete Pier, as well as the Silver in the Resource/Promotional Material-Consumer category for VSPC’s Gulf to Bay 2020 Destination Magazine. 

After nearly eight years, VSPC has launched a new VisitStPeteClearwater.com website. A massive effort from the Digital & Communications team, alongside Miles Partnership, the site has a completely new look and feel. Designed entirely mobile-first with 70 percent of website traffic coming through mobile, we encourage you to explore the experience from your phone, as well as desktop


Save the Date for VSPC’s Annual Marketing Meeting

Please mark your calendars for 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4 for our in-person Annual Marketing Meeting at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Attendees will learn about upcoming marketing plans, along with updates from President & CEO Steve Hayes. Add this meeting to your calendar!


PLAN Pinellas Webinars Set for Sept. 21 and 22

Get an inside look at Pinellas County’s comprehensive plan update with specific topics including land use, mobility, housing, environmental conservation and more. See the proposed plan and register for webinars HERE.


Leroy Bridges Joins Adara After Nine Years at VSPC

After nine years of incredible campaigns and successful initiatives around public relations, website, research and digital programming, Leroy Bridges is leaving VSPC to join Adara. Bridges will be in a hybrid role for the data and marketing company working with DMOs from across the U.S. and crafting go-to market strategy for products. Bridges’ last day with VSPC will be Friday, Sept. 24. Please join us in congratulating Bridges on his next venture.


Pinellas County Expands Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Pinellas County Emergency Rental Assistance Program is expanding its eligibility criteria and streamlining application processing. As of Sept. 7, Pinellas County residents who experienced a significant reduction in income or increase in costs during the pandemic (since March 13, 2020), may now qualify for financial assistance with rent or utilities, even if their financial hardship was not a result of the pandemic. Previously, applicants were required to indicate proof of a direct or indirect financial impact from the pandemic. Visit the application portal and additional information here


Biden Administration Announces New Vaccine Mandates

Last week, the Biden administration announced a broad slate of policies to combat the public health and economic impacts of the surging COVID-19 Delta variant. The policies are sweeping in scope and will impact many aspects of the travel industry. Policies that will have the most direct impact on the travel industry are:

• A forthcoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule requiring all employers with over 100 employees to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing.

• A call for large venues to require proof of vaccination or negative test results from patrons. At this time, it is unclear if the administration will require or simply encourage large venues to comply with this policy. 

• Extended TSA mask mandate in airports, airplanes and public transportation through January 18th, 2022 and doubled fines for those who are not in compliance.


Don't Miss the 29th Annual ExTravelganza Travel and Sports Auction 

Enjoy a spectacular evening as ExTravelganza celebrates its 29th year of charitable support of students in Hospitality Education through scholarships. Experience the thrill of bidding on exclusive domestic and international travel packages while enjoying exquisite cuisine samples and spirits. Purchase your ticket for this premier event on October 8, 2021 at Opal Sands Resort. Virtual bidding is available!


Pinellas County Expands Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Pinellas County Emergency Rental Assistance Program is expanding its eligibility criteria and streamlining application processing. As of Sept. 7, Pinellas County residents who experienced a significant reduction in income or increase in costs during the pandemic (since March 13, 2020), may now qualify for financial assistance with rent or utilities, even if their financial hardship was not a result of the pandemic. Previously, applicants were required to indicate proof of a direct or indirect financial impact from the pandemic. Visit the application portal and additional information here


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