Panama City Beach tourism numbers break records for 2021

Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 10:09 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY BREAK, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - During a visit to Fort Walton Beach, Governor Ron Desantis announced that in 2021 the state saw nearly 118 million American visitors, the highest number of domestic travelers in our history.

Visit Panama City Beach officials tell us in 2021, our tourism numbers were up 50% over pre-pandemic numbers.

“Overall, 2021 was a record-breaking year for Panama City Beach as a destination,” Visit Panama City Beach Vice President Of Marketing Jayna Leach said.

Visit Panama City Beach officials say while they don’t have the total number of visitors from last year...

“The numbers that we have projected are 18+ million visitors to the area in 2021,” said Leach.

Governor Desantis said the state saw 31-million visitors from October to December, the second consecutive quarter where visitation topped pre-pandemic numbers. In Panama City Beach, officials tell us we saw our strongest numbers come in during May, June, and July.

But no matter the time of the year, visitors needed a place to call a home away from home.

“Between the vacation rentals and the vacation sales, we had a great year,” Gulf View Properties Vacation Rentals Agent Clay Knight said.

And with record-breaking tourism numbers, also comes record-breaking revenue being brought in.

“The total tourism tax numbers were at $36.7 million. Those are the highest we have ever seen for an entire year,” said Leach.

Desantis tweeted, “Our fellow Americans know that, in Florida, they can expect sunshine, great hospitality, and freedom.”

“In Panama City Beach, visitors can also expect sunshine, wonderful hospitality and of course, our world-class beaches,” said Leach.

27 miles of the world’s most beautiful beaches that kept visitors coming even through the pandemic.

“A lot of people from states where they had a lot of mandates and could not come out of their houses. People were ready to get out and come to Florida,” said Knight.

And that’s exactly where they came in 2021.

Visit Panama City Beach officials say in March they’re expected to have a more exact number of how many visitors we saw in 2021.

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