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Gazette Premium Content Pinellas County courts Chinese tourists

Associated Press Updated: June 1, 2014 at 12:46 pm

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Pinellas County officials once thought it would take a decade or more to start bringing busloads of Chinese tourists to the beaches — but now it might happen this year.

The Tampa Bay Times reports ( that Pinellas tourism leaders are working with a veteran Chinese tourism operator in South Florida to start selling vacation packages in China that will showcase the beaches, museums and golf resorts in the county.

D.T. Minich, the CEO of the Pinellas tourism agency Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, said that aside from Orlando and Miami, Pinellas was the only other local Florida tourism agency to pitch tour operators in Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai.

In 2013, Florida was visited by 266,000 Chinese tourists.

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