PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Wednesday was Florida Tourism Day. Visit Panama City Beach officials said the world's most beautiful beaches bring in around 17 million people each year, but after the damage from Hurricane Michael, some wonder if the city is still a popular vacation destination.
When it comes to having some fun in the sun, Panama City Beach is a popular spot.
"It's been a 180 degree turn for us and it's been nothing but satisfying," said Radford University student John Baines.
Baines said back at home in Virginia the temperature is much colder.
"We went from snow covered hills to a complete beach vibe," said Baines.
Baines and many other tourists are aware Hurricane Michael damaged our area but still believe Panama City Beach has much to offer.
"The nightlife is really good down here too so we've been having a good time with that," said Maryville University Student Camryn Boland.
"As a college student I'm able to actually afford vacationing here and I really do appreciate that," said Radford University student Nick Mithun.
Catie Feeny with Visit Panama City Beach said tourists spend around a billion dollars yearly while visiting. She said they spent extra money on marketing to ensure that continues.
"The best way to get through this storm and all that we have gone through is to support these jobs, these local businesses, these small businesses," said Feeny.
Some tourists say the want to use their money to help the city recover from the storm.
"I see the city putting that money towards infrastructure rebuilding and fixing peoples problems that are messed up," said Baines. "If I'm going to pay taxes anywhere I'd rather it be somewhere that need it."