St. Pete's/Clearwater Takes Us Out To The Ballgame
with Martha Chapman

Mary Haban with Jays’ CEO
Paul Beeston and Rosemarie Payne

Quaffing a few cool ones in the Executive Suite

Paul Holinaty with Rosemarie,
Randy Anger of Worlds of Discovery and Maureen Maheu-Mendes of Sunwing.

What better way to celebrate the boys of summer, and, sadly, the close of summer, than at a baseball game?

And when you’re hosted by the lovely ladies of St. Petersburg/Clearwater, it’s no crummy hot dog
and peanuts for you: some 30 travel trade heavy hitters got to relax and quaff a few adult beverages in the spacious Executive Suite at the open-roofed Rogers Centre.

The connection? Dunedin, Florida is the spring training headquarters for the Jays, and as Rosemarie Payne, director of leisure travel in the US and Canada for Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater put it, “Tons of Blue Jay fans come to the Clearwater area and are a huge boost to tourism there – so thank you!†Jays CEO Paul Beeston even complimented Rosemarie and her colleague Mary Haban for sportingly wearing Jays t-shirts under their Tampa Bay jackets. Talk about hedging your bets!

Speaking of bets, I took the opportunity to conduct a highly unscientific poll as to what folks were feeling about Florida this winter. The results?

Paul Holinaty of Holiday House figures that the booking window will remain within 30 days, but that in the end it will be a successful season and the price will be right. Sunwing’s Reg Mendes agreed that sales will come in late but that it will be a sell-out season, while Fred Azouz of Radonic Rodgers pointed out that Canadians look for value and quality – “And Florida sure has that.â€

And a good team: Tampa Bay won by a score of 12 – 7.

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