Panama City Beach Needs more Branded Hotels

Kaoru Chikushi from HVS International wrote a piece on Panama City Beach that was published on HospitalityNet.org titled The Need for More Branded Hotels in Panama City Beach, Florida.

You should read it, but I’ll summarize it here.

Chikushi estimates that approximately 7 million visit Panama City Beach each year with around 250,000 spring breakers and 15,000 “snowbirds”. Again, not sure where the numbers came from, but 250,000 sounds much more realistic that the “millions” others in the media tout.

I was glad to see Chikushi references Panama City Beach as “once known as the Redneck Riviera” and describes our area as being in an “era of transformation.” Signaled by the new airport and Pier Park, she finds justification in Panama City being named the #1 place to own real estate in the next 5 years (the Business 2.0 article).

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Destinations around the country searching for tourists

“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” has been swapped for “do Vegas right now.” According to the New York Times, the slogan was swapped for something that had a stronger call to action.

It is no secret that the cost of living is going up in real time. With gas prices here quickly approaching 4 bucks a gallon, the cost to travel is also quickly becoming a huge deciding factor on where people are going, if they are going at all.

In the New York Times article, Urgency Replaces Subtlety in Summer’s Struggle for Visitors, the second destination mentioned as making a change in their advertising direction was Panama City Beach. Peter Yesawich was quoted, “There is a palpable nervousness on the part of everybody in the industry.” “We’ve seen some of these conditions individually,” Mr. Yesawich said, referring to problems like high fuel prices and reduced capacity on airlines, “but never all of them at once.”

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Toll From Montgomery to Panama City to be public road

In the Moulton Advertiser it was reported that the toll road to travel between Montgomery and Panama City may revert to public ownership once the toll fees pay off the cost to construct. The road would be constructed and operated by a non-profit organization.

As reported, Luthor Strange, a Birmingham lawyer is pushing the project in hopes of seeing it come to fruition. He represents Focus 2000 of the Wiregrass, an organization that is made up of potential investors and local officials and businessmen in SE Alabama.

Strange beleives that there is a way to construct the highway by using public and private resources, although there is no federal or state funding available for this project.

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Panama City Least Drop in Median Sales Price in Florida

Comparing April 2007 and April 2008, Panama City had the least median sales price drop in the state of Florida.  In April 2007, the median sales price was $192,200, in April 2008, the median sales price was $188,200, a 2% drop.

ORLANDO, Fla., May 23 /PRNewswire/ — Florida Realtors(R) statewide reported an upswing in existing home and condominium sales from March to April 2008, according to the latest housing statistics released by the
Florida Association of Realtors(R) (FAR). A total of 11,200 existing single-family homes changed hands in April, a 20 percent increase over the previous month when 9,330 homes sold. Existing condo sales statewide rose 21.6 percent, with 3,900 units sold in April compared with 3,207 condos in March.

The median price for existing condos increased slightly as well during the one-month period. The median price of an existing condo in April was $179,200, up 1.6 percent from March’s figure of $176,300.

In the latest National Association of Realtors(R) (NAR) housing outlook, Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts that home sales and prices throughout most of the nation will improve in the second half of the year, especially if access to mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac increases. “There are many reasons for people to get into the housing market today, and very few
reasons not to,” Yun says. “With the plentiful supply of homes for sale at affordable prices, interest rates approaching 40-year lows, and the strong track record of housing as a good long-term investment, conditions are ripe for buyers.”

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Bootleg Barbeque Serves Local Flavor

Sorry EmeraldCoast.com and Jan Waddy. I know this is your story, and I’m totally copying it word for word on pcbdaily, but I wanted our readers to see this. I give full credit to the story and article to Jan Waddy and Florida Freedom Newspapers.

I love Bootleg Barbeque and was blown away at how good everything was and how well Josh and his staff treated us. The food was phenomenal.

The article:

PANAMA CITY BEACH – “I’ve been in the restaurant business since before I could drive,” said Josh Daugherty, owner of Bootleg Barbecue.

His first job was at “a little barbecue shack in Sandestin,” Pig’s Alley, which is still around.

“Fifteen years later, I was an executive chef at Santa Rosa Beach Club,” said Daugherty. After going the “fine dining route for many years,” he wanted to do “something a little more fun, barbecue.”

“It’s unpretentious,” said Daugherty, “but still has a lot of integrity to it.”

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Cajun Fest is this weekend at Grand Panama

Cajun Fest actually started yesterday and will last through Sunday at the Grand Panama Resort in Panama City Beach.

There should be tons of jambalaya, crawfish and gumbo with Cajun Creole music.

Originally Cajun Fest was held at Hamiltons, and according to their web site, “it just disappeared”. I, for one, love cajun food, and will definitely be taking my kids there this weekend.

check after the break for the entertainment schedule.

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Panama City Beach reviewed on GoGirlfriend.com

According to their site, “GG is a travel-based opinion site for women going places. GoGirlfriend is where intelligent women go for travel information that matters. We inform, connect and inspire women to live their travel dreams.”

The site has reviews that date back to 2007 and feature such categories as Adventure, Arts & Culture, Florida Beaches Guide, Luxury, etc.

Their latest Florida review featured Panama City Beach, quoted:

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