With the looming threat of oil hitting our pristine beaches in one form or another, the Bay County Tourism Development Council (TDC) met this week to discuss how they can fight the negativity and display why Panama City Beach is still an ideal summer vacation spot for guests, new and old alike. The solution was to come up with a whole summer full of fun with festivals, live concerts and events that will show our visitors that in Panama City Beach, it’s not just the beach anymore.
Officials beleive that it’s realistic to expect oil in the shape of tar balls, light sheen, or a foamy mouse, but nothing more. Additionally reported, the product that may make it to our shores will be so weathered, that it’s toxicity levels will be little more than grease.
So what’s in store for this summer, you ask? Here are some of the ideas discussed:
- Fireworks every week
- Random parades along the beach in different areas
- It was discussed the the TDC buy floats (like Disney) or local groups enter their floats for free
- Concerts at various locations
- Having varying tiers with different levels of performers
- Some of the locations discussed were Aaron Bessant Park, Frank Brown Park, the new County Pier (with great parking close by)
- Various contests including a huge sand castle competition, some contest for the kids like hacky sack contests, frisby throwing contests and frisby catching competitions for dogs.
- Random “beachy” elements around town, such as steel drums playing at super markets
BP has given the state of Florida $25 million to be portioned out to county tourism officials across the effected areas to be used for marketing expenses related to the oil spill. Bay County’s portion was $1.1 million. In addition, the TDC has set aside $500,000 to be used to help fund events or any other costs associated with boosting our summer. The $1.1 million from the state can only be used for marketing expenses.
The whole idea was stemmed from tourism officials wanting to be sure that tourists understood that this summer was going to be the most fun-filled summer we’ve ever had and that they don’t want to miss it.
This brings an interesting point, and leads to a question that I’ve always pondered. The conventional thought in Panama City Beach has always been, “Why spend money and put on events in the summer when visitors are coming to our beaches anyway?” Yet, interestingly, the question I’ve seen so much on PCBDaily is, “There is nothing to do in Panama City Beach. I love going to the beach, but I don’t want to do that every day.” So, here is my question: Do you think tourism traffic would be substantially greater in the summer than it normally is if we have festivals or events on or around the beach EVERY summer? Answer in comments.