PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. – With a strong economy fueled by record-breaking growth in tourism, Panama City Beach has steadily gained ground, becoming a popular year-round destination and less economically dependent on any single season of visitation. The changes have not gone unnoticed: in the first months of 2016 alone, Panama City Beach has been named as one of National Geographic Traveler’s “Ten Beaches to Visit Now,” a Top 10 U.S. Beach by TripAdvisor, and one of “The South’s Best Beaches” by Southern Living.Over the past 5 years, visitation in the fall months has nearly doubled as Visit Panama City Beach – the local tourism marketing agency – has added to the events lineup for September through November. Now, Panama City Beach tourism officials are launching what is being called a “Spring Forward” marketing campaign.
As city and county leaders have enacted ordinances aimed at limiting incidences that could lead to negative perceptions – such as banning alcohol consumption on the sandy beach during the month of March, establishing earlier closing times for bars, a ban on overnight scooter rentals, and a variety of ordinances designed to curtail loitering – a new ad campaign has simultaneously been launched to focus on family-friendly travel during the spring season, backed by a spend in excess of $1 million.
Visit Panama City Beach is also luring young families to visit during the spring by hosting the Pepsi SpringJam, an all-ages country music festival taking place April 6 – 9, headlined by Rascal Flatts, Chris Young, Cam and Thomas Rhett.
“The majority of Panama City Beach visitors have always been families on vacation,” says Visit Panama City Beach President and CEO Dan Rowe. “We don’t want to risk damaging our year-round reputation as the result of a few isolated incidences of young people behaving badly in the early spring. In order to protect the year-round brand of Panama City Beach, local officials are taking steps to curtail any bad behavior, and actively market our family-friendly offerings to young families on spring break, rather than the college market. The reminder is: Panama City Beach is fun for every member of the family.”
Another change city officials expect will ensure a family-friendly atmosphere include new authority for law enforcement officers to shut down disruptive house parties. Visit Panama City Beach is also continuing an initiative started in 2012 that encourages beachgoers to “Leave No Trace,” keeping the famous white sand beaches pristine for new visitors to discover each day.
For more information on events taking place in Panama City Beach: www.VisitPanamaCityBeach.com.