Despite Oil Spill News, Panama City Beach Enjoys Big Memorial Weekend Crowds

If you’ve been watching the news, (which I am sure we all have) you are aware that the top kill efforts to stop the oil from from spilling into the Gulf failed, leaving whole regions fearful of what might happen economically if the spill can’t be contained. The sobering news, however, did not detour crowds from heading to Panama City Beach’s unaffected shores and soaking up sun while lounging on perfectly white, gorgeous beaches.

If you ventured out over the weekend, crowds filled streets, parking lots, stores and restaurants. Wal Mart on Front Beach, Panama City Beach’s secret tourist barometer, was wall to wall and many of the food aisles were empty. For the most part, it looked as if the oil spill news weren’t lingering like rain clouds over everyone’s vacation.

One local hotel manager said of the crowds, “Just like old times. We’re sold out just like last year. We’re just blessed the oil isn’t effecting Panama City Beach. We’re lucky to be able to continue business as usual. Some folks, can’t say the same.”

But, as news of the failed top spill efforts on the part of BP rouse more questions than answers, vacationers’ concerns about heading to the Gulf grow and threaten what should have be Panama City Beach’s banner years.

A recent New York Times articles, said, of the new strategy to stop the spill,

“The new strategy is to smoothly cut the riser from which the oil is leaking and then place a cap over it. Pipes attached to the cap would take the oil to a storage boat on the surface. Though a first effort at a containment dome failed,  Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer, said BP had learned from that experience and now believed that this cap, which is custom fitted to the riser, would be more successful. He said it would capture most but not all of the oil leaking from the well, which is believed to be gushing 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day. He would not give odds for the operation’s success, but said he had “a lot of confidence” that it would work.”

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