Tourism continues to boom in Panama City

Published: May. 6, 2022 at 8:44 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - When you think of tourism in Bay County, it’s easy to think of the world’s most beautiful beaches. But Panama City Beach isn’t the only area people are visiting when they come to town.

Bay County wouldn’t be what it is today without tourism.

“One in six people in Bay County are directly or indirectly associated with the tourism industry. And it brings in more than $3 billion worth of outside revenue to this area every year,” Destination Panama City President Jennifer Vigil said.

And it isn’t just the white sandy beaches bringing people in.

“We have a lot of recreation that is bayside. Inshore fishing is a big deal,” Vigil said. “A lot of people like to kitesurf and paddleboard and that’s a great avenue for this side of the bridge.”

Friday, Destination PC invited both residents and visitors out to enjoy food trucks, live music, and views to celebrate National Tourism Day.

Vigil said Panama City has been popping these last few years.

“We actually exceeded pre-pandemic numbers in the pandemic and post-pandemic periods. We do expect there to be a leveling but we don’t expect it to ever go back to pre-pandemic numbers,” Vigil said.

But with a number of new projects in the works, tourism officials said they expect tourism numbers to keep climbing for now.

Hotel Indigo is currently under construction on a portion of the Downtown Panama City Marina property. That is expected to open up in 2023.

“And later on this year in 2022 we have Harrison’s Kitchen and Bar opening. We have a number of new businesses in Downtown Panama City and the Historic St. Andrew’s District,” Vigil said. “I think next year is going to be one of our best years yet.”

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