Pinellas tourism officials appreciate Northeast snow

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – While much of the country prepares for the forecasted winter storm, tourism officials in Pinellas County see cash on the radar.

“It doesn’t matter when snow happens. What it is, it’s the signal that it’s winter time  and when people get into winter they start thinking very quickly, ‘How do I get out of winter?’ So this is good for us,” said Visit St. Pete Clearwater executive director David Downing.

“A mild December proved beautiful for us. November was a record. We’re going on 27 months of record tourism,” Downing added.

Last year the tourism arm ran an add campaign targeted to residents in colder cities. They placed snowmen with sign on sidewalks in New York City. Downing said similar marketing encouraged visitors to have “less polar, more solar.”

“This year we are going to New York and Chicago but we are adding Boston to the mix,” he said. “We wrapped 5,000 subway trains and buses, double-decker buses, and elevators.”

Meanwhile, visitors in St. Petersburg are looking at the weather forecast for their cities and are thankful they’re here – and not there.

“That’s what my son says, ‘I’m at the store to get food for the weekend.’ Tt’s a big storm,” said Roger Schavina from Delaware. Delaware is expected to get several feet of snow

“Maybe we will stay here a couple more weeks,” Schavina said.

“I just got word that it was 8 degrees up there today,” said Steve Churro from Vermont. “We’d be bundled up on the couch probably with blankets on.”

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