Record-breaking tourism numbers expected to continue in Bay County

Panama City

PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — Due to Florida’s wide-open practices during the pandemic, Panama City Beach is seeing record tourism numbers. 

The question is, how long will this trend continue?

The Public Relations Manager for Visit Panama City Beach, Lacee Rudd, said June’s tourism revenue is up by 50.5 percent compared to their base year in 2018 – making it their strongest month ever to date. This amounts to around $6.5 million in tourism revenue. 

“Tourism is the number one economic driver for Bay County so having these visitors come into the destination is beneficial for residents, our local businesses,” Rudd said.

These record-breaking trends began in Bay County back in March and have only continued to grow from there.

Rudd says they haven’t gotten their July numbers in yet, but she expects they will be even higher than the June numbers. 

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Rudd said this also plays a factor in the new flights at ECP and attractions in the area.

Missy Riley works at Sandbar in Panama City Beach. She said July was record-breaking for them as well.  

“To-gos have been phenomenal,” Riley said. “We brought back a delivery service because of the demand we’re hiring more staff.”

She says the “season” never truly ended last year and thinks that may happen again. 

“I think we are going to have an awesome winter this year as well,” Riley said.

The TDC said they work hard to market Panama City Beach as a year-round destination.

Even with major Labor Day Weekend events like Gulf Coast jam being postponed, they believe these tourism trends will propel the area into the winter months. 

“So we are hoping that these same trends continue into the fall and we will see really heavy traffic for fall travel as well,” Rudd said.

Rudd said even though they want people to continue to come to the area they encourage all visitors to follow safety precautions and be smart while they are here.

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