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State, local tourism bureaus commission Amazon Prime series to boost Pinellas County visitors

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Posted at 5:33 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 17:54:49-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The next show you decide to binge-watch could look very familiar. Production crews filmed a new Amazon Prime series called "Life's Rewards" all over Pinellas County.

When people are driving to Pinellas beaches, you can't miss the pink palace.

“We certainly are an iconic location," Todd Gehrke with The Don CeSar Hotel said. "Most people that come into the property have experienced it. They've seen it, they saw it on TV, they saw it in a magazine."

Now they'll get the chance to stream it. The hotel and several other area attractions will be featured in a new series on Amazon Prime called "Life's Rewards."

The story focuses on a young executive who loses his wealth and his clients' wealth to high-risk business deals Now, he has to live off a massive amount of hotel points.

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This series isn't the brainchild of a major Hollywood studio. It's a marketing campaign from Visit Florida, which partnered with Visit St. Pete/Clearwater.

"It’s a really unique way to tell a story in a very subtle way about a destination," President and CEO of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater Steve Hayes said.

Hayes took over this position a year after record tourism numbers and 90 days before the pandemic hit the U.S.

"We lost 35,000 jobs in our county that are attributed to tourism. We lost $2 billion in direct spend in our communities because visitors weren't coming," Hayes said.

Now that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, the agency and Pinellas businesses hope this $700,000 film project could net what they lost and then
some.

"I’m most excited that the destination as a whole is going to be able to go into people's living rooms and paint the picture that we all know and love so much," Gehrke said.

Life's Rewards makes its debut at the 16th annual Sunscreen Festival in St. Pete which draws filmmakers from around the world. You can catch it on Amazon Prime, YouTube, GoUSA TV and Places on May 10.