PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)– In the midst of the Spring season, many local businesses are enjoying the influx of tourists, especially in comparison to last year when the area was largely shut down in the face of the pandemic.
Now this year, local tourist attractions are hoping to bounce back.
While most of the businesses in the area are open year round and have the opportunity to generate income year round, most theme parks in the area only open during peak season to attract a high level of customers.
Coconut Creek Family Fun Park is open year round, but usually spring break can be a time when they see the highest volume of customers.
Owner Laura Webber said typically around Easter is when they see the most tourists.
Webber remembers when she heard the Governor’s executive order in March, and was forced to close the doors of her business for six weeks.
Webber said while the news was shocking, it was something they had been slightly prepared for.
“It’s never a good thing to have to shut down your doors to customers, but we are used to smaller versions of that with hurricanes so we were well prepared,” she said.
The attraction took a dramatic hit in sales during the pandemic, but she says this year is looking rather different.
“We are very happy with the number of people that are here I think everyone is tired of being cooped up, and they are ready to come out and enjoy the great weather. More and more people are going back to work so they have the extra funds again,” she said.
Webber said she was fortunate enough to be able to keep much of her staff on board during the pandemic as she says the property and mini-golf course constantly needs upkeeping, and her staff is like her family, so letting them go was not something she wanted to do.
Webber said even now with vaccinations occurring, she and her staff are working to sanitize the park to avoid the spread of the virus. At the attraction, masks are encouraged, but optional.
Webber also said she feels that 2021 will be a promising year for business in Bay County.