Panama City - Friday is the two year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Explosion and the subsequent oil spill. While Panama City Beach was spared any actual damage, the perception of oil-covered beaches did plenty of damage to the local economy.
Since the spill, BP has paid more than 37 thousand claims in Bay County totaling more than $520 million. The Bay County Tourism Development Council used it's BP funds to put on events that did not involve the beach, hoping people would still come. In 2011, Bay County's tourism hit record highs; 18% higher than any other year.
Now with the BP funds gone, the county is looking ahead to the future without that extra help.
"We're trying to continue the momentum we've received with the additional funding from BP and so we are looking at doing a different advertising effort both during our high season and during our slower season," Susan Estler with the TDC said.