Downtown Panama City is named an opportunity zone due to growing business

Local News

PANAMA CITY Fla. (WMBB) — When you think of tourism you often think of the beach, but what about Downtown Panama City?

Downtown has made huge strides over the last few years drawing in new business and opportunities. 

Visitors like Alice Arrington said there is clearly still some work to be done in Downtown Panama City, but it has the foundation.

“It looks like a lot of cities across the country or in South Carolina that are trying to come back, but it’s a beautiful spot,” Arrington said.

With more and more businesses moving in. Tourists are coming to the area and they see the potential

“You already have a center for the arts and I see several other places that can really be highlighted,” Arrington said.

Jennifer Vigil the president of Destination PC said more businesses opened during the pandemic than before Hurricane Michael.

“I think Panama City is on a very fast track for growth,” Vigil said.

She said this area is considered an opportunity zone for business, and even with fewer hotels, there is more money coming in. 

“We are actually generating a higher revenue year over year than we were before the hurricane,” Vigil said. “So we are actually doing really well in terms of average daily rates and higher occupancy levels.”

Vigil said the draw to the area is the culture, the restaurants, and the history. She said with all the new projects like hotel indigo and the grace district, the rise in tourism will continue. 

“It is going to be exciting for all of us that live here to watch the city really take off because this is where life sets sail,” Vigil said.

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