Summer Tourism Means Bigger Business for Panama City

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PANAMA CITY-- It's been a big summer tourist season for Panama City Beach.
With overflowing crowds, many vacationers found themselves staying on the East side of the bridge in Panama City.

Several downtown Panama City businesses say they're seeing a glimpse of what they hope will be their future.

Huge crowds at the beach this summer are spilling over into the city.
Buccaneer Beach Motel, and Bar and Grill have seen a difference.

"It's probably a good 50% we've had a lot of parking problems because of the amount of business that our bar side has been getting lately," said Buccaneer Motel General Manager Kristen Moulder.

Panama City is on the verge of creating it's own bed tax district to promote tourism. If this is what it's like without promotion, they can't wait to see what the future holds.

"What it shows is that we have a real opportunity as a city to partner with the marketing that's going on at the beach to drive additional heads and beds on this side of the bridge," said Levy.

Levy said the city's greatest asset is the Bay. "It's fishing, sailing, boating, it's a wonderful resource that hopefully we can promote a little bit more," said Levy.

You're not only talking about hotels seeing a hike, but also restaurants.
With packed tables, and lines out the door, Capt's Table and other restaurants in St. Andrews are filling up.

"Since we've moved here, every year has gotten better and better and this will probably be a record breaking year for us," said Owner of Capt's Table Mitch Holman.

Levy claims Panama City Beach's success is having a ripple effect outside of Bay County, with Dothan, Chipley, and Marianna creating more opportunities to attract tourists.