Pristine white beaches are the hallmark of St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida. The new Opal Sands Resort, opened in February, is looking to apply the area’s draw to meetings business. Thanks to strong airlift into nearby Tampa International Airport, a 20-mile drive from Clearwater Beach, the city gives meeting groups an easily accessible beach locale. Connect talked with Nancy Cimney, director of sales and marketing for the 230-room Opal Sands and sister property Sandpearl Resort, about the area’s renaissance and what this new property offers meeting planners.
Can you speak to the need for a new resort in Clearwater Beach?
The Clearwater Beach area over the last decade has undergone a renaissance. The area is totally different from what it was 15 years ago. I think people are just discovering what Clearwater Beach has to offer from a meetings perspective. [Meeting planners] may have never thought about Clearwater before, but it has now received several recognitions as best beach town [by USA Today] and best beach [by TripAdvisor], so it’s truly coming into its own.