CLEARWATER – For the second year in a row, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater has received funding to promote local gulf tourism and seafood through BP’s Gulf Seafood and Tourism Promotional Fund.
A total of 450 organizations applied for funding in 2013, but only 60 organizations were awarded grants, with individual funding amounts ranging from $25,000 to the maximum award of $500,000. Eleven of this year's recipients hailed from Florida, and both Visit St. Pete/Clearwater and Visit Florida, the state tourism board, were the only destination marketing organizations in the state to receive the maximum grant of $500,000.
The funding program solicited proposals from qualified applicants, requiring specific descriptions of proposed projects along with organizational histories and associated budgets. Applications were then considered by a three-person panel appointed by BP, with attention being paid to the diversity, geographic and otherwise, of the applicants.
"The entire St. Pete/Clearwater area tourism community has worked hard to establish an amazing momentum over the last three years," said VSPC Executive Director, DT Minich. "And receiving this grant allows us to continue that momentum while growing the brand of the area as a culinary destination."
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater proposed several programs for grant support in 2014, including the second year of funding for Enjoy Arts & Tastes, a three-day culinary event featuring world-class celebrity-chefs, as well as dedicated funds in support of Clearwater Beach Uncorked, an annual food and wine festival that takes place directly on Clearwater Beach.