JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Good news from the Northwest Florida Tourism Council as they announced the continued operation of the U.S. 231 Welcome Center.
Slated to close at the end of June due to the budget cuts to the “Visit Florida” program, the center will now be operated by Explore Northwest Florida, a regional brand comprised of nine counties ranging from Walton to Gadsden County.
The effort, a result of the collaboration of the Florida Department of Transportation and the Northwest Florida Beaches as well as Jackson County commissioners.
Those with the regional tourism development councils highlighted the welcome center’s draw.
“For my destination Okaloosa County and certainly all of the destination within Northwest Florida, our visitors come right down this thoroughfare. When they want to stop, I’d rather have them stop here than go to I-10, then turn east and come out of our region,” said Jennifer Adams, Northwest Florida Tourism Council chairperson/Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council.
Visit Panama City Beach said the welcome center is a crucial informative resource of our area.
“The welcome center showcases the region and all the different experiences that we offer. It’s a vital resource to the visitors as they enter the state so it’s really important that it stays open and we can showcase everything that we have to offer,” emphasized Lacee Rudd, Visit Panama City Beach public relations manager.
The 231 welcome center serves as the main welcome point for nearly 300,000 visitors arriving in the destination.