Panama City Looking To Create Own TDC

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PANAMA CITY - Panama City is moving forward with the process that will allow the collection of bed taxes.

The newly formed Panama City Tourist Development Tax Planning Committee held it's first meeting today to begin the process.

The committee's work will be to lay the foundation for a future TDC in Panama City.

Panama City officials want to join Panama City Beach and Mexico Beach in collecting bed taxes on local hotel rentals.

Panama City Beach's Convention and Visitor's Bureau and Mexico Beach's Community Development Council work under the supervision of the Bay County Tourist Development Council, deciding how to spend the bed tax revenues.

Like those groups, this Panama City Committee is comprised of business owners and city leaders.

Andrew Levy was selected from the Bay County Chamber of Commerce.

"It's great to see a cross-section of the community come together and really talk about how we're gonna leverage this great opportunity for Panama City," Levy said.

The group appointed Levy Chairman and hotel owner Harry Patel Co-Chair.

Their first action will be to create a plan with estimated revenue figures.

They believe a five percent bed tax will raise about $2,500,000 a year.

Dan Rowe from the Bay County TDC is helping guide the committee.

"This travel research proposal will give you a really, you know, good idea but I think they outlined at the meeting today that they're looking at about $2 million, $2.5 million that they'll have to market Panama City as a tourist destination and that seems to be a very consistent number," Rowe said.

Committee members will also look beyond marketing, for other projects they can fund.

"Why do visitors come here, why do people come to Panama City and how can you enhance their stay because Panama City has got a lot of great attributes and great assets and it's marketing those assets that will help bring more people to stay here and will also have a benefit to the local residents," Rowe said.

The state legislature must approve Panama City's request to create a taxing district. Then the majority of Panama City voters in that proposed district will have to approve it's creation.