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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Clearwater snags another tourism contest win



CLEARWATER-- Clearwater is already the best beach town in Florida, according to a USA Today reader survey announced in January. Now the national newspaper’s travel readers have bestowed another honor: Best Place to Watch a Sunset.

For the honor, announced last week, Clearwater beat out Leland, Mich., where sunset aficionados can watch the blazing orb dip into Lake Michigan.

But taking in the evening ritual from the sugar sand and lapping Gulf of Mexico waves on Clearwater Beach beats a lake, even one of the Great variety, readers decided.

For Mayor George Cretekos, the win represents another “weapon” for the city to deploy to keep tourists packing Clearwater Beach. But the mayor quibbled with the photo that the newspaper selected for the city. For starters, there’s no sun. Just a yellowish tint to the clouds.

“It just wasn’t what I considered a Clearwater Beach sunset,” Cretekos said. “Leland had a beautiful photo. We had clouds, but no sun.”

The photo, apparently taken from the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa, does show some of the Beach Walk, plenty of palm trees and a wide expanse of white sand.

Cretekos, who lives on Sand Key, said he has posted sunset photos on his Facebook page that residents have told him were better than the USA Today shot.

But a win is a win, he said. And not just for Clearwater.

“It’s a marketing tool that benefits not only the city, but all of Pinellas County,” he said.

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 5:55pm]


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