Selling Tampa Bay March 3
Consular group could help region
Currently, there are 26 consular and honorary consular representatives of foreign countries in the Tampa Bay area. Each could be key to helping brand Tampa Bay throughout the world. Sadly, there is no organized consular corps in this area now that the Tampa/Hillsborough International Protocol Office headed by Irma Bridgeford was disbanded.
The THIPO, however, even when guided by the Tampa chamber and other Tampa business entities, was concerned only with developing business, cultural and tourist relations with the city of Tampa, not St. Petersburg, Clearwater or any other cities in the Tampa Bay market.
It would stand to reason that ignoring these 26 consular representatives to further brand Tampa as an important international commercial and travel destination is a missed opportunity at best. A group headed by Ms. Bridgeford is working on a proposal for an organized consular corps plan (International and Consular Affairs Association) that would fairly and equally promote the entire Tampa Bay area. So far, the group has not found a community with enough interest in the ICAA plan to offer them a home. Another missed opportunity.
Harvey Alexander Smith, Palm Harbor
Honorary consul of El Salvador