Panama City officials are hoping billboards, strategically placed in Panama City Beach, will lure tourists from the beach to the downtown area. The billboards went-up last month.
"We had an influx of BP money this year, and we put that all towards a marketing campaign. We are doing a lot more billboards, a lot more ads to try to get people to drive across the bridge to see what we really do have over here," said Executive Dir. of Downtown Improvement Board Dutch Sanger.
In November, Laura Scott helped open the handmade gift shop Bees and Buttercups. She says she has not noticed any crowds from the ads. But others say they are seeing results. "I have noticed a lot more tourists here recently. Certainly a lot more than last year," said Sathe Parmer of Millies.
Downtown improvement board officials hope the new campaign is just the beginning of the downtown revitalization effort they've been seeking for several years.
City officials broke ground on the thirteen million dollar marina project on March 21st. The entire project should be completed in April 2016, giving people a lot more reasons to come downtown.