Camden Courier Post - November 30, 1980
Phillies fever flying to Florida
By Tony Muldoon of the Courier-Post
Philadelphia isn't the only town that has become fanatical about the world champion Phillies.
Clearwater, Fla., the spring training home of the 1980 World Series winners, is planning a big welcome when ;(Jw; team opens its training camp in late February, and some travel agents in this area already have begun campaigns to take a lot of northerners south to see the champs.
The anticipated travel boom and Clearwater's plans to meet it are still taking shape, according to travel officials and spokesmen for the Phillies and the Clearwater Chamber Of Commerce.
Haddon Travel of Haddonfield, which handles the Phillies' team travel arrangements, is looking into group tours to Clearwater.
The Phillies themselves have not madaany travel plans for 1981, but hard-core. fans are calling about trips to spring training even though the World Series euphoria has barely dissipated. They are the true fanatics, who don't mind spending up to $800 to get to a Phillies game, said Cheryl Van Horn, retail manager of Haddon Travel.
"Everything With the Phillies is very busy. We're starting our season for next year with the Phillies, and we are looking into package tours down to Clearwater," said Van Horn.
"I think the people who are calling right now are the people who are really interested in the Phillies and have been for years. The people are aware they're going to be busy next year, so they're calling early," said Van Horn.
The next group to call will be travelers who are going to Florida anyway and would like to visit the Phillies spring training camp as part of their regular vacation, she said.
Tallage Tours Inc. of Philadelphia, is offering four package tours to Clearwater, and travel agent Jon Spinosi, president of Jon's World Travel of Pitman, is looking forward to a profitable spring for himself and his competitors.
"It’s going to affect us pretty heavily when spring training starts," said Spinosi, who also is president of the South Jersey chapter of the American Society of Travel Agents.
"Not many people from the Philadelphia/South Jersey area go to Clearwater," he said.
"St. Petersburg gets most of the business. Now, because of the Phillies, a lot of people who'd be sitting on the sidelines this winter will say 'OK, let's take advantage of the bad weather and the Phillies and go to Clearwater instead of St. Pete,'" Spinosi said.
Although Talmage Tours and Jon's World Travel are optimistic about a spring bonanza, other area tour operators do not appear to be laying many great plans. It is, however, somewhat early to make predictions, according to most of them-"
Indeed, Clearwater's welcome to its world championship spring residents is still in the early planning plages, according to spokesmen for the chamber and the Phillies.
Travel agents and tour operators' are certain to base much of their winter-marketing strategy on the Phillies and their world championship.
“I’m sure they're going to jump into it;" he said. "It's too big a thing to pass up,"
Phillies general manager Paul Owens and field manager Dallas Green met with the Clearwater's Chamber of Commerce sports committee about 10 days ago to begin plannmg the festivities surrounding spring training.
"We've (had meetings with Paul Owens and Dallas Green and we've sent tijerij a letter outlining some of the thjngs we've discussed in our meeting," said James Parker, executive vice president of the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce.
Among the tentative events are a paradfe honoring the Phillies and signs proclaiming Clearwater the spring, training camp for the 1980 World Series winners.
"We’ll be doing a lot of things to recognize the Phillies themselves," he said. We want to plan it with the Phillies people. Things will be warming up as we get further into the winter,” said Parker.