Record Breaking Tourism Year

B.J. Thomas and his team traveled from Mississippi to compete in the world softball championships held at Frank Brown park.

"This is the only reason we come. We do it every year. For the world tournament, we are trying to win a ring. We rent a condo, go out to eat, spend money on gas, it's a weeks stay," said Thomas.

"The parks have been what has kept us moving forward when other people have fallen behind. We've done a lot of things out here as far as sports marketing, and it's paid off for Panama City Beach. When the weather has been bad, they have stayed. When the hurricanes come, they come back quicker," said Mike Thomas of the TDC.

Florida tourism has grown 8% statewide since 2007.
In Panama City Beach, it's up 38% over he same time period.

"You know, Florida is the number one tourist destination on the planet, people want to come here. And now, we are demonstrating that we are getting a larger share of the market which is great for Panama City beach and it's great for northwest Florida that people are recognizing us as a tourist destination.

The largest portion of the TDC's budget next year goes to marketing, to attracted even more tourists.