Weekend festivals bringing thousands of tourists and expensive hotel stays


PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)–It is a busy and crowded weekend on the beach as two festivals kick off tonight. Both events are bringing thousands of visitors from near and far. The influx is even causing hotel prices to skyrocket. Unwined and Gulf Coast Jam are bringing in a combined 25,000 people.

“We’re hosting them together on the same weekend. So, we’re expecting things to be incredibly busy. Great for the economy,” said Lacee Rudd, Visit Panama City Beach’s Public Relations Manager.

Both events will last multiple days which is leading to a huge demand for lodging.

“We have a lot of people try to come to get rooms but we can’t do nothing,” said Karel Davis, Seahaven Beach Hotel’s Supervisor.

Seahaven Beach Hotel says all 80 of their hotel rooms are booked. Down the road, Bikini Beach Resort is reporting the same.

“We booked up for this weekend at the beginning of this week. Yeah it’s been like that, memorial day weekend booked up a week in advance as well too,” said Richard Richards, Bikini Beach General Manager.

Despite having no rooms, that isn’t stopping tourists.

“Oh yeah…They keep coming in ‘you guys got anything? We’ve looked up the street’ we try to help them when we can but it’s insane,” said Richards.

Some visitors report seeing astronomical hotel prices. One room on hotels.com is going for $939 for just one night. Another room is a pricey $800. Tyler Maczko from Georgia is dealing with this issue firsthand.

“It seemed like the prices looked really low but once it added altogether with the cleaning fees and the security deposits it went from like 600 to 900 dollars,” said Tyler Maczko, a tourist.

A price she ended up paying.

“So here I think we paid 900 from yesterday night to Sunday,” said Maczko.

As we return back to a new normal, tourism trends are expected to continue breaking records.

“We’ve talked to partners and this weekend is fully booked and we’re expecting that to roll into the rest of the summer and even into the early months of fall,” Rudd said.

For coverage on both festivals this weekend, check in with mypanhandle.com.

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