Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Another puff piece on local tourism by STUART KORFHAGE

Flummery, dupery and nincompoopery from VCB.
There were hundreds of extra hotel guests:
o displaced local residents whose homes were ruined by flooding of salt water contaminated by sewage
o utility crews and
o disaster recovery workers.
Unscientific data is what RICHARD GOLDMAN specializes in -- is VCB and TDC claiming credit for every dollar ever spent in St. Johns County, even as a result of Hurricane Matthew?  

Such hubristic malarkey.
Is it time for RICHARD GOLDMAN to go?

Posted January 24, 2017 12:02 am - Updated January 24, 2017 06:37 am
By STUART KORFHAGE stuart.korfhage@staugustine.com
Report details how county’s tourism bounced back following Hurricane Matthew

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A report from the St. Johns County visitors and convention bureau revealed just how well the county’s overnight tourism industry recovered from the revenue losses related to Hurricane Matthew.

The hurricane in October caused physical damage to many hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts. And it caused a significant loss of business as visitors and residents alike were chased away during the second weekend of the month.

According to information from the VCB, the county’s short-term lodging industry was down by about $4 million in October 2016 compared to October 2015. A total of just more than $15 million was reported in gross receipts for October 2016.

But the positive news for the county was that short-term lodging receipts for November 2016 were about $17.5 million, which was an increase of approximately $2.5 million over November 2015.

The gross receipts reflect the revenue collected by lodging properties required to pay the county’s “bed tax.” That tax, also called the Local Option Tourist Development Tax, is assessed on all short-term transient rentals.

Richard Goldman, CEO and president of the VCB, said it was great to see the rebound for lodging revenue.

“It was really, really profound,” Goldman said. “Others have not had the bounce.”

On the attractions side, Goldman said he’s heard anecdotal evidence that suggests that part of the tourist industry lost about 30 percent of its business in October. He hasn’t seen the numbers for November, but he did hear good things for the month and even better for December.

Goldman said the Castillo de San Marcos had record attendance for November and December, which is a good barometer for the county’s attractions.


At Monday’s meeting of the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council, the board approved financial support for two major sporting events, one certain and the other still to be determined.

The board expressed its support for the Donna Marathon put on by the non-profit Donna Foundation. The event and surrounding festivities take place in both St. Johns and Duval counties. However, the marathon starts and finishes in St. Johns.

The TDC board approved $30,000 from its sports marketing fund for the event.

The other event is the NCAA men’s and women’s golf championships in May 2018. So far, the event has not been awarded to St. Johns County, but there is a bid on the event. The bid is being handled through the Jacksonville Sports Council.

If the NCAA agrees to stage the event at the World Golf Village, the TDC has approved the recommendation of $75,000 to help organize the event. The County Commission will have to approve the money in the budget for that fiscal year.

“I think this would be a good investment based on the exposure,” TDC member Bill Hughes said.

The championships are shown on The Golf Channel and expected to draw at least 420 hotel nights in the county.

But it’s the exposure that might best benefit the county.

“This is what this group (current TDC board) has been talking about wanting,” Goldman said. “We’re hopeful that Northeast Florida becomes a center for all kinds of sports.”
Follow replies to my comments


Tom Reynolds
Of course in November the hotels did good. We had all kinds of folks here to work after the hurricane, they stayed in the areas hotels. That had nothing to do with the VCB/Goldman. Of course the figures were up from last year. Others did not have the "bounce" because others did not have the damage/hurricane workers we had here.

I hope a lot of sports come here to St Johns County. This is a perfect place to be a host in the sporting industry. It should already be a sporting event capitol. After all, St Johns County is the healthiest County in the State. Plus we are really GOOD LOOKING PEOPLE ! Sports, health and good looking people go together. St Johns County should already be a SPORTING EVENTS CAPITOL ! So the current Leadership has been failing and it is time for NEW PEOPLE to LEAD !

a couple more things on this story/subject.

Raise the bed tax, the tax needs to be max. The Bed Tax should have been raised two years ago one point. Then raised the next year to another point. The TDC Board members are BIG TIME FAILURES for not having done this already. And the County Commissioners also OWN this FAILURE with them ! If St Johns County had a Picture-nary, the TDC Board Members and St Johns County Commissioners would be in it. The two Boards group photo would be next to the word ....failing ! Because they are failing the County Residents BIG TIME !


It is time for the County Commission and the TDC Board members to turn over the $1,200,000.00 to County Safety ! This playing ignorant on the Bed Tax Safety money that is suppose to be going to Agencies that provide safety is BS. (bad stuff) IT IS THE FLORIDA STATE LAW ! Play games with children or each other, NOT THE SAFETY of BOTH the Residents and the Visitors. THIS HAS GONE ON LONG ENOUGH. Turn the 1.2 million over to the proper Authorities NOW ! Fire/Rescue and LE should be able to plan with those funds.


Remove the City of St Augustine Beach from anything to do with events planning for sports. No matter what the sporting event is it should be run by experienced or at least smart people. St Augustine Beach Management and Police Management have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that lack competence. Volleyball, Surfing, or running/5k 10k events in St Augustine Beach should be run by a County appointment who has experience/common sense. Especially for Security reasons, all Sporting Events need Security and good security. St Johns County Pier area is a GREAT AREA for sporting events and needs to have more GREAT EVENTS.

Artemis Kore
Great news that SJC hotel numbers were up after the Hurricane. I believe it was a combination of great weather, the Holidays and all our wonderful events that attract worlwide visitors, and lastly Hurricane victims who had been displaced and maybe some out of County workers.
I applaud the 2 sporting events supported by the TDC. Most sporting events should be held outside of St Augustine Beach as there simply is not sufficient infrastructure (parking, traffic alternatives, public transportation). The city of st augustine is much better equipped.

Tom Reynolds
Dude take your Meds right away. The City of St Augustine is the worse place to hold sporting events. Not only are they not better equipped, but the traffic is worse. Plus do not forget that the City Management in the Old City is under Regan. He is the guy who is NOT Qualified to even be a city manger. Regan got the job because the Old City promotes by seniority, NOT BY Qualifications ! The City of St Augustine Beach and the City of St Augustine have equally un-qualified Management in both the running off the Cities and Police incompetence.

Jack (sponger) Harvell
Hotels bounced back because the TDC (Trouble , Disturbance and Chaos) has our dang name on every flyer from here to Virginia beach, thereby eroding our way of life for the benefit of the tourism industry. The only thing they haven't yet done is put up billboards starting five hundred miles from here on I-95 announcing our presence and distance from St. Augustine, a la South of The Border

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