Both sides of the bay shine in worldwide ads

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For the first time, Hillsborough County's tourism bureau, Visit Tampa Bay, is pitching sunny getaways to the winter-weary overseas. 

"We have campaigns going on in Germany, we have the campaign that's going on in London currently, and then we've also focused on Toronto," Hillsborough tourism director Santiago Corrada told FOX 13 News on Friday. "We're actually telecasting live the Gasparilla invasion on January 30 in London in the cabs." 

Those same cabs are already wrapped in Visit Tampa Bay advertisements, as are some subway stations. 

Hillsborough's campaign is hitting this month, co-sponsored by Visit Florida, the state's tourism bureau. 

"We're letting Visit Florida do that in January and then in February, we're taking over the whole country," Pinellas tourism director David Downing said. "We have a national TV campaign in the United Kingdom, not just London.  It's broadcast throughout the entire country." 

That is in addition to non-traditional advertising similar to Hillsborough's. 

"We have buses. I believe in making our billboards move around the city, not stay in one place," Downing explained. "We have 560 subway trains in New York, we have elevator screens...Get people in the subway when they're getting to work, get them in the elevator when they get to work, get the messages in as many touchpoints as possible."

The two counties have very similar marketing targets:  The United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Brazil and U.S. cities such as New York, Chicago and Boston. 

Pinellas County's marketing budget this year is more than $27 million.  Hillsborough's is roughly $10 million.

Corrada claims it is not a competition. 

"They've got great assets we don't have, we've got great assets they don't have, so when we're out there selling the Bay Area to the world, it's a combined effort," he said. "We know what's good for one is good for both." 

Tourism in the two counties supports more than 150,000 jobs.