Frank Chivas, owner of the Baystar Restaurant Group, was named the winner of the 2014 Frank T. HurleyTourism Person of the Year Award May 8 by the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce.
ST. PETE BEACH – Pinellas County restaurateur Frank Chivas was named the 2014 recipient of the Frank T. Hurley Tourism Person of the Year Award May 8 during the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce’s annual Tourism Luncheon at the Loews Don CeSar Hotel.
Steve Westphal, the winner of the award a year ago, introduced him.
“I’d like to thank everyone here,” Chivas said. “This is an honor, especially coming from Steve. Also, thanks to all the elected officials and thanks to Bright House.”
Chivas, one of the founders of the annual Superboat Powerboat Races off Clearwater Beach, is best known for his Baystar Restaurant Group, which includes the Salt Rock Grille, Island Way Grill, Rumba Island Bar and Grill, Marlin Darlin Key West Grill, the Salt Rock Tavern in Oldsmar and the soon-to-be-opening Marina Cantina at the Clearwater Harbor Marina.
But probably not known to most are his many philanthropic efforts. They include YMCA of the Suncoast, Clearwater for Youth, Abilities Foundation, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Suncoast Hospice, All Children’s Hospital, UPARC, Festival of Trees, Help a Child Network, American Cancer Society, Sun Coast Hospital, Children’s Cancer Center, Bayfront Hospital, Clearwater Marine Aquarium and others.
In addition, the Baystar Restaurant Group spurts the Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy, Clearwater Sailing Center and the Pinellas Education Foundation.
Earlier in the program, there was a panel discussion titled “Beyond the Beach: Florida’s Not So Sandy Attractions.” The panelists included John Doonan, director of motorsports for Mazda North American Operations; Pete Miller, creator and host of the award-winning “Bass 2 Billfish” television show on NBC Sports; Theresa McCann, director of strategic partnerships for NBC News and Sports; and Bill Lupfer, president and CEO of the Florida Attractions Association.
All four organizations have an affiliation with Visit Florida, the official tourism website for the State of Florida.
Each spoke five minutes on their respective organizations and what they do before answering questions from the audience about tourism.
What is the percentage of locals vs. out of town guests coming to the state and do you market differently to different groups?
“From a motorsports perspective, the answer is a resounding yes because the state of Florida is the motorsports capital of the world,” said Doonan. “Fifty percent of fans come from other cities. So from a media marketing standpoint, we target the colder markets.”
“I’m not sure of the numbers but we’ve got something like 46 million anglers in the nation,” said Miller. “We’ve got some gigantic numbers here. So it’s definitely worth getting involved and bringing people here to Florida to enjoy fishing.”