Cruise Line Coming to Port St. Joe

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PORT SAINT JOE-- When Port St. Joe lost the paper mill in 1999, it left behind a deep water port.

The county has transitioned to a tourism-based economy, and community leaders believe the port can contribute to that industry.

Gulf County leaders are hoping by this time next year, the Port St. Joe dock will be bustling with tourists.

Gulf County Tourist Development Council has patterned Boutique Cruise Line for a 10 day Gulf Coast Cruise.

The trip starts at New Orleans, and heads to Mobile, then Pensacola, next Port St. Joe, then ends in Tampa.

Port St. Joe will be the eco-tourism portion of the trip, with about a dozen different outdoor activities for the 130 tourists to take in.

"We have several guides, we probably have 15-20 guides," said Charlene Burke, Tour Guide.

Others are excited about the potential of all that additional traffic.

"I think its fantastic it's going to bring a lot of people to the 'forgotten coast.' Better and bigger things are going to come from this. I mean it's a fantastic opportunity for all of us," said Darren McDaniel, restaurant owner.

"We like to say if you visit once you'll come back, if you visit twice you'll stay so we hope they will come back more than once," said Mel Magidson, Port St. Joe Mayor.

Tickets for the 10 day journey in April go on sale next month.

The TDC is working with a couple of other cruise lines.