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Economy / Business

Pinellas County Allocates $600,000 for RNC Welcome Event

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Photo Courtesy of BayNews 9

Pinellas County Commissioners allocated $600,000 for a Republican National Convention welcome event at Tropicana Field. The money comes from the tourist development tax fund or what's called the "bed tax."

Tampa is hosting the RNC in late August but Tampa does not get all the spotlight. St. Petersburg and Clearwater are estimated to fill 33 thousand hotel room nights during the week of August 28. Officials say that would bring a $32 million impact for Pinellas County.

Pinellas County Commissioner Norm Roche said the welcome event is a marketing opportunity to showcase what Pinellas County has to offer to its visitors while bringing the media and delegates together.

He says even though the RNC is in Tampa, Pinellas still gets a chance to shine.

"Most of the folks coming down for it will be over here in Pinellas," Roche said, "meaning, if you had your choice to stay in a downtown Tampa hotel or on the beach in Pinellas, where you going to go right?"

Roche also says the welcome event is a legitimate use of bed tax funds since that money can only be used for tourist related expenses.