Panama City Beach, Fla. - Panama City Beach is gearing up for the fast approaching spring break season. In the past, spring break for PCB has been filled with wild spring breakers taking over, but this year, that is going to change. They are hoping it will bring in more people who will keep it local and bring them back year around.
"I think we will still see college crowds here. Parents before were a little inhibited to about bringing some of their students down here. Now that they know it is a safer environment, you're going to get some really great kids here. And families that approve that they can come down to Panama City Beach, which is fantastic," Jamie Tatum, Tervis Tumbler Store Manager.
Starting this year, Visit Panama City Beach is working hard to transition the type of crowd they attract. They're trying to make sure visitors are aware of everything the city has to offer.
"When we talk to the demographic that we're after, what we find it that they want to come to a beach that they can do everything. Not just sit at the beach, not just enjoy the amusements, not just go fishing. But do all of those things and that allows us to be a destination that your whole family can come to. So we don't want to exclude anyone," said David Demarest, Visit Panama City Beach.
By bringing in events to Aaron Bessant Park like UNwineD and Spring Jam, Visit Panama City Beach is expecting to see a different crowd.
"Our approach and our goal to spring break has changed drastically. As before, we had the crowds coming and we weren't even advertising to them. Now we are really working to bring people back. Tourism is vital to our economy. We want to be a year around destination," said Demarest.
The main reason they want to expand the demographic is to impact the local economy.
"Tourism counts for about 31-thousand jobs in our area, $1.5 billion in direct spending. So what we want to have is a nice even rate all year around so that people can keep those jobs and we don't have restaurants closed. So if you own a business here you can stay in business. Tourism is our main way of doing that," said Demarest.
Officials say residents should see a big change in the local economy and a better environment during the spring break season.
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