PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Despite the pandemic, Pinellas County just saw a record year for tourism.
And local business owners are excited about the bounce back.
What You Need To Know
- St. Pete, Clearwater driving record tourism numbers
- More than $73 million generated from tourism this year in St. Pete and Clearwater
- Business owners seeing increase in lodging bookings
In 2019, St. Pete and Clearwater hit a record of $62 million in tourism money.
This year? More than $73 million.
That’s great news for the beaches, Bay area and even the state.
All that money eventually trickles down to the Bay area’s economy and the growth of our local businesses.
Many hotel and villa owners in the St. Pete-Clearwater area said that last year they saw more reservations than they ever have in the past.
They’re crediting it to COVID.
“It was almost like a spring board effect,” said Lynn Timberlake with the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Board of Directors. “I love that people in our community and around the world have started thinking outside the box.”
The Tampa Bay Area is breaking records today ?
Clearwater/St. Pete made $73 million in tourism dollars last year. That’s more than we made before Covid. @BN9 pic.twitter.com/fryQUuSYoZ
— Ashonti Ford TV (@AshontiFordBN9) November 14, 2021
Several villa owners are already reporting being booked at nearly 100% for the month of January.
And they’re now getting creative with how to keep up with the demand.
“It was extreme pent up demand,” said Katrena Hale, who rents to vacationers. “I’m packed 90% for November. That doesn’t happen. January is not one of those months. I’m probably 70% for December already. Usually that’s when you do repairs, paint, etc — let’s get ready for January.”