COVID-19 Industry Update
Feb. 12, 2021
Coming off a busy week of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater activating at and around Super Bowl LV with marketing, public relations and sales efforts, VSPC and 17 of its hotel and attraction partners had a big showing at Florida Huddle this week.
Huddle is the state’s official travel trade show, which showcases Florida to international and domestic tour operators, wholesalers and media. The all-week virtual show included more than 75 one-on-one appointments with tour operators from the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America and UK and Ireland.
To liven up the virtual show, Visit Florida included featured activities, including The Dali Museum as part of a Virtual Art Tour of Florida. Taking center stage as a featured presenter with VSPC was Innisbrook, a Salamander Golf & Spa Resort, for a 30-plus minute golf demonstration featuring Visit Florida President and CEO Dana Young, Innisbrook head professional Kyaw Htet and VSPC’s Director of Leisure Travel Rosemarie Payne and Chief Operating Officer Tim Ramsberger. Watch the fun and learn a thing or two to help your golf game. Madeleine Brydon of Westjet Vacations won the VIP prize package for attending the session.
Also, Visit Florida announced that Tampa will host Florida Huddle in 2022 from Jan. 24-26 at the Tampa Convention Center, giving VSPC and St. Pete/Clearwater an opportunity to showcase its destination before and after the event.
VSPC will be providing a recap of its Super Bowl LV efforts at next week’s TDC meeting, which is 9 a.m. on Wednesday and can be watched here.
Until then, below are a number of other relevant updates.
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater’s “Rise to Shine” program and free materials are still available for tourism partners. If you’re in need of masks, hand sanitizer and signage, don’t hesitate to fill out the form on this page and we’ll deliver materials to your business for free.
On Thursday, VSPC will be hosting a webinar to review upcoming spring visitation forecasting and plans to promote traveling safely and responsibly heading into the destination’s spring travel season, and how your business can get involved. Register here!
Below are other pertinent updates.
PINELLAS COUNTY VACCINE APPOINTMENT SYSTEM UPDATES, NEW SITE TO OPEN
A new public site for COVID-19 vaccines is opening next week as the process for booking appointments changes to ease scheduling. Public health officials shared this and other updates about the countywide pandemic response Tuesday as the Board of County Commissioners extended the Local State of Emergency through Feb. 19.
Residents 65 and older who have created accounts through the CDR Health Pro Patient Portal will be contacted directly to schedule their vaccination as new appointments become available in the coming weeks. For now, the first to register will be the first invited to make appointments. There are approximately 60,000 residents registered in the system who have not yet been scheduled for an appointment. Residents can pre-register at the website or call 844-770-8548 to create an account or get help.
To date, more than 94,000 people have received at least their first dose of the vaccine in Pinellas County, around 9.5 percent of the county’s population. Pinellas County currently has the second highest percentage of people vaccinated among large Florida counties and the highest rate among long-term care facility residents, which have seen a disproportionate number of deaths from the pandemic, said Dr. Ulyee Choe, Director of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County.
About 10,000 people per week are being vaccinated at four public sites run by the Health Department and supported by local fire paramedics, though all vaccines at those sites are going toward second doses this week, he said. A fifth site with larger capacity has been identified and may come online as early as next week. Residents are registering for those vaccines at those sites using the patient portal, but many others are getting vaccinated through hospitals, health centers, long-term care facilities, and through pharmacies that recently began offering the vaccine. For more information on local vaccine distribution and availability, visit https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/vaccines
Around Super Bowl LV, Pepsi Stronger Together and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) surprised four Tampa Bay area restaurants, including two in St. Pete/Clearwater, with $10,000 grants. Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill in St. Pete and Sculley’s/The Hut Bar & Grill at John’s Pass were recipients. Pepsi Stronger Together is a tailored grassroots-based program giving back to communities across the U.S.
ALLEGIANT ANNOUNCES NEW NONSTOP SERVICE FROM LITTLE ROCK TO PIE
On Tuesday, Allegiant announced a new nonstop route to St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport (PIE) from Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (LIT) in Little Rock, Ark., beginning May 27, 2021. The new seasonal nonstop service will operate twice weekly and is the 53rd non-stop Allegiant route into PIE. PIE also reported its January passenger traffic being down 41% with a total of 96,645 passengers.
TAMPA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ADDS NEW SERVICE, FRONTIER CREW BASE
Frontier Airlines announced it’s establishing a new crew base at Tampa International Airport (TPA) opening this May. Approximately 250 flight attendants and 140 pilots will be based at TPA this year with the number expected to increase in the future. Also, in the past four months, Silver Airways has announced nonstop service to four destinations---Charleston, S.C.; Columbia, S.C.; Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C. (March 21); and Savannah, Ga. (April 2). And this week JetBlue launched new nonstop service to Raleigh-Durham, N.C. four times weekly.
DELTA AIRLINES CONTINUES BLOCKING MIDDLE SEATS
As the only carrier in the U.S. still blocking middle seats, Delta Airlines announced this week it will continue blocking middle seats and limit capacity on all flights departing through April 30.
INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE RELEASES PLAYBOOK FOR SUMMER GAMES
The International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee published the first in a series of playbooks that instruct athletes, officials and media on protocols to follow at this summer’s Games. The 2020 Tokyo Games were postponed last year and are scheduled for July 23-Aug. 8, 2021.
JOIN VISIT FLORIDA & EXPEDIA GROUP MEDIA SOLUTIONS WEBINAR
As the travel industry continues toward recovery, the best way to navigate the path forward is by staying ahead of shifting consumer behaviors and trends. Join Derek Price with Expedia Media Group Solutions as he shares custom research from Expedia Group Media first party data. Learn more and register here.
SAVE THE DATE FOR FLORIDA GOVERNOR’S CONFERENCE SEPT. 8-10
Visit Florida has announced this year’s Florida Governor’s Conference will take place Sept. 8-10 at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood. The Governor’s Conference brings together representatives from DMOs, hotels, resorts, amusement parks, the legislature, advertising agencies and other suppliers for two days of professional development, speakers, workshops and networking.