Written by: Jeffrey Moellering, Marketing & Sales Director, Pro QC International
The Tampa Bay area of Florida is a diverse and varied part of the state, encompassing aspects of both big city and small town life. It comprises the major cities of Tampa, neighboring St. Petersburg and Clearwater, and also includes surrounding counties to the north, south and east of Tampa Bay. The greater Tampa Bay area has a population of over 2.7 million, and is the 13th largest media market in the US. It is located on the west coast of the Florida peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico and draws tourists from around the world visiting its famous powder white sand beaches and warm gulf waters. Its beaches have been ranked “best in the world” numerous times by “Dr. Beach”, Dr. Stephen Leatherman http://www.drbeach.org. Tampa Bay is Florida's largest open-water estuary, extending over 400 square miles.
While other Florida cities such as Miami and Orlando may be better known throughout the world, Tampa is a kind of microcosm of the United States, with a broad range of ethnicities from people re-locating from all over the U.S. and internationally. Tampa recently hosted the 2012 National Republican Convention and is known for being a world-class destination for business and other conferences. The area boasts three professional sports franchises in American football, ice hockey and baseball.
Tampa Bay has a multi sector business environment, with expertise in the financial services sector (earning the nickname “Wall Street South”), avionics, marine and defense electronics, health care and medical devices, information technology and higher education and research; the University of South Florida is one of the top research institutions in the country. The area has a well-developed infrastructure, with a port, roads, bridges and rail networks. The Port of Tampa is the largest in the state of Florida, and is a popular departure port for Caribbean cruises.
Those visiting the area on business will find accessible amenities to serve all their requirements, in addition to many leisure opportunities ranging from boating and sport fishing, to parks, concerts, festivals, museums, theaters, theme parks and other attractions. A few of the area’s recommended points of interest include:
Ybor City –
Ybor City is a historic neighborhood in Tampa located just northeast of downtown. It was founded in the 1880s by cigar manufacturers and was populated by thousands of immigrants, mainly from Spain, Cuba and Italy. It has been designated as a National Historic Landmark District. Today, Ybor City is host to many fine restaurants, clubs and concert venues. The Columbia restaurant is Florida’s oldest continuously operated Spanish and Cuban restaurant, featuring authentic architecture and cuisine. It is actually one of Pro QC’s Managing Director’s favorite places to eat when he’s visiting the Tampa office.
Busch Gardens –
Busch Gardens is a 335-acre 19th century African-themed animal and amusement park. There are many state of the art amusement rides and animals are kept in a natural style setting. It is very popular with adults and children alike and is one of the most popular amusement parks in the country. Nearby Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa is also a very well regarded zoo.
Fort DeSoto Park –
Ft. Desoto is located at the ruins of Fort DeSoto, a Spanish American War era fort. It comprises a large beach area and nearby offshore keys, accessible by boat or ferry. Its beaches are known as some of the finest in the country. There are also boating, kayaking, diving, fishing and camping opportunities in the park. It is very popular with families year round for parties, cookouts and recreation.
Downtown St. Petersburg – Beach Drive
The Beach Drive area of downtown St. Petersburg provides a very eclectic mix of fine dining, boutiques, bed and breakfast, art galleries, museums and other entertainment. It is adjacent to the St. Petersburg Pier, which is a very popular district for sightseeing and enjoying the alfresco atmosphere.
Whether you’re visiting Tampa Bay on business or pleasure, you’re sure to find many amenities to make your stay productive and rewarding! Additional recommendations include: