Florida has long been a favourite U.S. destination for Canadian travellers, but with such a variation in choice of products and experiences, it may often be difficult for travel advisors to find the right fit for certain clientele. Tampa Bay is one option that may fit the bill, especially for those who believe variety is the spice of life.
“Tampa Bay is in the fortunate position to have ‘the most’ of everything – thrill rides, cruises, outdoor recreation, exciting history, creative cuisine, historic Cuban culture and craft beer – all in one sunny destination,” says Santiago Corrada, CEO of Visit Tampa Bay.
Equipping Canadian travel advisors with more information to better sell the destination, Corrado shared these top sales tips and insight with CT Magazine.
1. While Tampa is a solid year- round destination, seasonality still matters. As well as the obvious winter season, early fall is a great time for the Canadian market: rates are good, the weather is warm, the crowds are gone, and hockey is in full swing.
2. There is more rate flexibility and inventory on the week- ends, so book Fridays through Sundays.
3. Tampa Bay offers good value for beach stays, given its proximity to Gulf Coast beaches.
4. Tampa CityPASS, the only CityPASS destination in Florida, offers up to 53 per cent off regular combined admission prices. For less than half the normal cost of a ticket, CityPASS grants visitors access to some of the region’s most popular attractions, including Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, The Florida Aquarium, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI).
5. Thanks to the newly completed Tampa Riverwalk in downtown, Tampa is a fantastic walking (and biking) city. The Tampa Riverwalk runs for four kilometers along the Hills- borough River and Garrison Channel, linking downtown’s favourite attractions (museums, restaurants, and parks).
6. In terms of an ideal clientele for visiting Tampa Bay, consider the following:
We’re a truly multi-generational place. Families find us extremely rewarding – whether it’s families with small kids who can’t get enough of The Glazer Children’s Museum, Florida Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), Tampa Theatre, or Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a magnet for all generations, as are our museums, including Tampa Museum of Art and The Tampa Bay History Center. The David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts is the largest arts center in the southeastern U.S. and its shows are renowned.
As word has spread about our vibrant culinary and craft beer scene, we have become an attractive spot for millennials and young couples: they flock to the hipster scene of the Seminole Heights neighbourhood and the early Cracker settler- infused cuisine of The Refinery and Fodder & Shine from the only James Beard-nominated chef in Florida, or the latest ramen craze started by new hot spot, Ichicoro Ramen.
The young at heart also head to Tampa’s other foodie corridor in South Tampa, where they can choose from one of the best steakhouses in the country before a nightcap at Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club; or dine at Bern’s Steak House, Florida’s best steak restaurant (and winner of this year’s James Beard award for Outstanding Wine Program) or trendy charcuterie Haven, or elegant Élevage at the Epicurean Hotel, where two-time James Beard Award semi-finalist Chad Johnson leads a staff that puts a modern twist on classic cuisine.
Did you know...
- Tampa International Airport ranks number two in in the U.S. and number five in the world for customer service. It has the U.S.’s shortest TSA wait. It’s a major Canadian hub as well, thanks to daily non-stop Air Canada flights from Toronto, and easy connecting routes with expanded travel here from Montreal on rouge. ￼￼
￼￼- Ybor City is an exotic blend of flavours, sights and sounds at the heart of nightlife in Tampa Bay. Founded by Vincent Martinez-Ybor as a cigar-manufacturing centre, Ybor City today is one of only two National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida.
- Today, Tampa Bay has become Florida’s hub for craft brewing. Two dozen (and counting) local brewers produce award-winning drafts.
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has 300 acres of thrill rides, stage shows, wildlife — all a short trip from downtown. New in summer 2016 is Cobra’s Curse, the first family spin coaster.
- Tampa Bay is one of America’s most popular cruise departure ports year-round, which makes it an ideal vacation option either pre- or post-cruise.
￼￼- The city’s heritage is celebrated in its food renaissance, epitomised by the food-focused Epicurean Hotel or Ulele, which opened almost two years ago in the 112-year-old building that once served as home to the City of Tampa’s Water Works, pumping water from the neighbouring spring.