Summer is upon us and so is a growing crisis in the local tourism industry. Thousands of condominium units will open over the next two years, but there are not enough workers to staff them.
Tourism industry officials are calling it a crisis. The condos are going up, but the supply of willing workers is going down.
It seems building a condominium on Panama City Beach is much easier than maintaining it. The many new condominiums will need receptionists, security, maintenance, office and housekeeping crews, but potential workers are hard to find
Tourism officials say the beach will need 5,000 to 6,000 additional hospitality workers in the next 18 months to meet the demand of newly opening condominiums and restaurants.
The industry relies heavily on foreign nationals, but the state's cap on foreign workers was reached in the first month of this year. Now employers are seeking local help, but their biggest obstacle is most Bay County workers think there's no high paying jobs.
Another big problem is the lack of affordable housing and transportation.
Even veteran resorts are feeling the pinch and say the beach is at the beginning of what could be a workforce crisis.