Panhandle organizations win big at Visit Florida Forum

Local News

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Visit Florida held the Florida Tourism Forum at Bay Point Sheraton on Tuesday night, and a few panhandle organizations took home big awards.

Destination Panama City is run by Jennifer Vigil since its inception almost 5 years ago and shortly after Hurricane Michael, they were given a $250,000 grant from Visit Florida to fund a marketing campaign.

Vigil said they decided on the campaign “Postcards from Panama City” to tell the story of Panama City post-Michael and the resiliency of our community through a series of 6 postcards.

The goal was to keep in touch with tourists who are following the progress in Panama City and care about our recovery.

“Normally, when a storm comes through an area, the general message is ‘we’re open for business, we survived the storm’,” Jennifer Vigil said. “But, Mexico Beach and Panama City were not in the position to say anything like that, so we didn’t want to lose touch with the most loyal visitors we have and a lot of people really care about the destinations they visit and the people that live here.”

The postcards earned Destination Panama City a Silver Flagler Award for Direct Marketing Campaign through Visit Florida tourism.

However, Destination Panama City wasn’t the only winner of the night. The Florida Seafood Festival and Gulf County Tourism also won big awards.

Gulf County Tourism took home not one, but two 1st place Henry awards for outstanding tourism in the state of Florida for the Brothers Osborne Album Release Concert and ‘ReBuild, ReDiscover, ReVisit Gulf County’ campaign following Hurricane Michael.

The 2018 Florida Seafood Festival won a Bronze Flagler Award also.

Visit Panama City Beach took home three Flagler Awards, including a Henry award in the Resource/Promotional Material- Consumer category for their “Décor by the Shore” campaign. They were also presented with a silver award in the Television Advertising category for their “Make It Yours” campaign and a bronze award in the Social Media Marketing category for their “I am Thankful” campaign following Hurricane Michael.

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