Has MTV-U seen it's last days on Panama City Beach?

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Is college spring break helpful or harmful? It's a big money maker, but critics say it discourages families from coming to the beaches.

MTV-U attracts hundreds of thousands of spring breakers each year and puts over $800,000 into Bay County and the City of Panama City Beach's pockets.

Some say college Spring break is a double-edged sword. On one end, you have the economic impact. On the other, you have the reputation that goes along with it.

Spring Break 2009 brought deaths, car accidents, balcony falls, and a number of alcohol-related incidents to Bay County.

"We've got people moving out. People that live there and are moving out of Panama City Beach because of it," Pastor Greg Aldridge, of Cornerstone Family Fellowship Church said.

Tourism officials are considering getting rid of MTV-U and using that $200,000 in marketing elsewhere.

TDC officials say MTV-U wanted to shoot a few reality shows that would shed a bad light on Panama City Beach and would highlight students getting drunk.

"It's not because we didn't drive a lot of business to the beach. It's been very difficult for us to maintain our brand and protect Panama City Beach," Dan Rowe, TDC President said.

"Were going to be throwing that money away if we turned it around and hand it back to MTV-U and come in and have the issues that we had this past year," Marty McDaniel, CVB Chairman said.

Some suggest letting private businesses such as the super clubs drive college spring break and not the Tourist Development Council.

"I really believe if we start to bring families here we will turn around our reputation," Linda Cope, a concerned resident said.

"And I think if we change the paradigm where we are a resort first that attracts spring breakers that is a huge step," Rowe said.

A huge step for officials to promote Panama City Beach as a family-friendly place instead of a Spring break hot spot.



 
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