PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - According to Panama City Beach city leaders, roughly 17 million people visit our beaches each year for a variety of reasons.
Some say they come for the water, others say it's the weather, and according to officials with the Tourist Development Council, sporting events and music festivals have played a big role in bringing people to the area as well.
"Within the springtime we had UnWined, we had Seabreeze Jazz Festival. SandJam was a new event this year and moving into May and moving into June, we still have summer concert series, Groovin' on the Green and those go all the way into August and then we also have a ton of sports teams that are here," Tourist Development Council Public Relations Manager Catie Feeney said.
Feeney also says visitor numbers for this summer are even higher than last.
"Our May numbers were up about 5.3 percent and we're up for the year about 8.8 percent," she said.
While numbers are up this summer, they still don't compare to the numbers during spring break before the drinking laws were passed.
However, the city is heading in the right direction to reaching those.
"We've received really positive feedback from all our accommodations as well as restaurants and small businesses saying this is one of the best summers that they've had, so we're looking forward to finishing out July strong and getting those numbers for June next week and then hopefully carrying that trend into the fall time," Feeney said.
Tourism officials say the city isn't only taking steps toward increasing summer numbers, but they're also working to make Panama City Beach a year-round, family-friendly vacation destination by marketing for specific demographics at specific times.