Visit Panama City Beach honored for sports tourism

We look at the impact of sports tourism on our local economy. This comes after some PCB sporting events were honored with national awards.
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 8:10 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Sports tourism is making Panama City Beach more recognizable.

“Parents are coming in with their kids for these ball tournaments,” said Panama City Beach Communications Director Debbie Ingram. “Whether it’s soccer, baseball, softball, or whatever it is. Parents will travel with their kids for these events.”

However, Visit Panama City Beach is turning things up a notch.

Sports Destination Management is a leading publication that recently awarded four events produced in cooperation with Visit Panama City Beach. They include the 2022 Grand Slam World Series of Baseball, United States Fastpitch Association, 2021 Visit Panama City Beach Ironman Florida and Ripken Select Tournaments.

City leaders said those four awards also helped put the city on the map. IRONMAN alone attracts athletes from all around the world.

“They’re coming to Panama City Beach,” Ingram said. “[It’s] such a small destination, but yet, we’re known.”

Sports tourism generates big bucks for the city.

“That brings in visitors who stay on our beach, eat at our restaurants, shop at our shops and go to Pier Park,” said Panama City Beach Council Member Phil Chester.

PCB doesn’t have an Ad Valorem Tax or property tax.

It relies heavily on its 1% business tax instead.

City officials reported that tax rung in close to $19 million for the Fiscal Year 2022.

Panama City Beach isn’t slowing down anytime soon, though.

“We continue to enhance our parks and recreational facilities,” Ingram said. “There’s going to be some upgrades to Aaron Bessant Park in the coming months. There’s a master plan underway right now for Frank Brown Park. We’re continuing to invest in the park and offer more diverse sports and more opportunities for other people.”

Visit Panama City Beach officials said the winning events brought in more than $80 million to the area.