MANATEE--The Tourist Development Council (TDC) held its bi-monthly regular meeting Monday in county chambers. The TDC board heard updates on tourism numbers, Manatee County sports events, marketing and promotions, public relations and agri-tourism. The results of the meeting follow:
1. Approval of December 10, 2010 minutes - Unanimously Approved
2. Election of TDC Vice-Chairman for 2011 - David Teitelbaum was the sole nomination and elected unanimously to continue as Vice-Chairman of the TDC.
3. Public Comment - No citizens came forward to speak.
4. State of Tourism/International Market update presented by Walter Klages, Research Data Services - Mr. Klages reported a 2.6% increase in visitors to Manatee County in the past year. "The oil spill actually drove visitation to the area with people helping out in the clean-up effort", he said. "The first quarter is a good one, we are gaining ground and market share."
5. Sarasota Bradenton Int'l Airport (SRQ) update presented by Michael Walley - Passenger numbers are slightly down in January due to the cold weather up north and many travelers unable to leave those cities with the snow. Mr. Walley said to expect a good spring as vacationers have had to delay their trips down here. The Southwest/Air-Tran merger is expected to be complete by June. SRQ airport is working to get flights on that airline. The airport board approved expansion of the customs area to handle larger aircraft and passenger numbers. The work should be done by December. The airport is promoting the area in the German market as well as resuming marketing in the UK and Canada.
6. Sports Business update presented by Joe Pickett, Sports Liason - Mr. Pickett reported that sports conference memberships are up between 8 and 22%. Events coming to Manatee County include the Nations Baseball World Series 2011-13 and Five Nations Baseball Events 2011-13. Several AAU bids are in place for events to be held here. Mr. Pickett said he is working on having the USA Hockey Championships come here in 2012. In all, 25 bids are in negotiations.
"It was a great fall", Mr. Pickett said. The Eddie Herr Tennis Event at IMG in Bradenton generated $4.4 million in economic impact. There are 43 events scheduled for the second quarter with a potential of 14 thousand room nights in the area. He is also working on creating a Paddle/Rowing Marketing show to help brand the area as a rowing destination.
7. Marketing and Promotions update presented by Debbie Meihls, CVB - Ms. Meihls reported that ads in Florida and Conde Nast magazines promoting Anna Maria Island have generated great interest. There are also print ads in Destination Weddings magazine and the Canadian publication Dreamscapes promoting the area's beaches and resorts. An advertising fair is planned for April at the Civic Center.
8. Website update presented by Steve Berlin, Miles Media - The Convention and Visitor's Bureau website retention rate is up and the bounce rate (fewer people leaving the site) is down in the last quarter. New York City is providing the most traffic to the site. International traffic is with Germany showing the biggest increase.
9. Public Relations update presented by Gentry Baumline, Hayworth Creative - Ms. Baumline reported that several articles and press releases are being sent to out of state publications and newspapers. The most recent press release is on the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training here in Bradenton. Ms. Baumline said radio promotions will begin soon on WDUV 1450 AM radio.
10. Agri-Tourism update presented by Janet Mixon (Mixon Farms) - Ms. Mixon spoke about how agricultural businesses in the county have added value by giving tours and increasing their exposure as tourist desinations.
11. Pine Avenue update presented by Ed Chiles, Chiles Group - Every third Friday there are "Porch Parties" on Pine Avenue which has become a popular networking event on Anna Maria Island.
12. New/Old Business
a. Sunshine Law - Chairwoman Carol Whitmore went over the Sunshine Law guidelines.
b. Crosley & MCC Utilization Reports - FYI only - Not presented verbally. The board received packets containing the financials for the past year.
Adjourned - 11:15 a.m.
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