Panama City Beach, state see record tourism numbers

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Local tourism leaders say they're seeing record tourism numbers and so is the entire state.

Governor Rick Scott said Monday that in the first quarter of 2017, Florida welcomed more than 30 million visitors.

He said in a statement that it's the highest in state history for the first quarter and it's more than last year. He used that to also bolster funding for state marketing work to bring visitors to Florida.

The beach is also on the rise for March bed tax numbers, with 19 percent more visitors compared to March 2016.

Vice President of Marketing for the Tourist Development Council, Jayna Leach, said it's thanks to a new, aggressive campaign.

"We did that this past spring and the spring before really going after what we call our Chief Vacation Officer which are the moms who are planning the getaways for spring," she said. "As well as adding three new events to the area."

Those three events are UnWined, The Emerald Coast Cruisin' Car show in March and the Emerald Coast Boat and Lifestyle show.

The beach's bed tax numbers for the fiscal year, which starts in October, are also up by almost 16 percent.