|By Ted Jackovics, Tampa Tribune,
Fla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
April 13, 2012--CLEARWATER -- Pinellas County drew 606,100 visitors in January and February, 7.1 percent more than the same period a year ago. And March and April are looking good, too.
"This has been a very, very successful period of time for us," said Walter Klages, a consultant with Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater.
Klages said the most important factor has been an increase in consumer confidence.
In addition, business from the Republican National Convention in Tampa in late August will bolster a typically weak visitor period, Klages said.
There was growth across the board in places of origin among Pinellas visitors during the first two months of the year.
Florida topped the list with 24,005 visitors, an 11.3 percent increase; followed by Canada at 64,880, a 10.2 percent increase; Europe at 73,734, a 9.9 percent increase; and the Northeast United States at 187,210, an 8.3 percent increase.
Expenditures by all overnight visitors totaled $544.3 million the first two months of the year, Klages reported. They spent $3.4 billion in all of 2011.
Early reports indicate that 59 percent of Pinellas County accommodations managers reported reservations are up during the next three months, while 31 percent said reservations are the same and 8.5 said they are down, Klages reported.
(c)2012 the Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Fla.)
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