Spring has sprung, the weather’s warmed up nicely and college kids have come out of the woodwork to enjoy our white sand beaches in Panama City Beach. Last week I parked my car in an obscure location and hiked to the central nerve center of Spring Break, right behind Club LaVela. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.
According to our friends over at tripsmarter.com, there are roughly two million kids turned loose from colleges nationwide, all in the name of Spring Break and shaking off the past Winter Quarter.
I’m willing to bet that about 500,000 of those kids on break right now can be found in the beer aisle at Wal-Mart on Front Beach Rd.
Ok, well maybe I’ve inflated that number a bit (the Wal-Mart estimate, not the Tripsmarter.com one) but all it takes is one adventurous jaunt to Wal-Mart at 7:30am on a Saturday to understand where that estimate stemmed from.
Sure, we can look at hotel bookings, or in-bound flights, but personally, the real test of numbers comes from those of us who live here on a day-to-day basis. We’re the ones who have to add an additional 15 minutes to our morning commute due to the surge in traffic and more recently, the surge in accidents from crazed college drivers.
It’s a strange love-hate vibe our community harbors for Spring Breakers. In fact, it’s almost along the lines of a kid-brother, or sister. Sure, the younger sibling may drive you batty, but we’re the only ones who’ve earned the right to talk smack about them. After all, we loan them our town, our beaches, and our homes for a couple of months every year and we do love them, despite how much they annoy us.
Yet, when a national magazine like Seventeen Magazine decides to run a piece on the evils of our town and our young Collegiates, it’s only natural that we would take a few moments to address some of the things the magazine stated.
It’s shocking that a relatively credible magazine like Seventeen, would opt to run such a slanderous piece on Panama City. Especially considering the run of hard luck the Gulf had last year and the extensive campaigns we’ve launched to rectify the negative PR during the Oil Spill.
The article used some pretty bold words to describe our town, referring to Spring Break in Panama City Beach as “disgusting, degrading and dangerous, especially to Women.” Ironically, this is the same Magazine who runs articles offering “Flirting Tips” or “How to Attract Men” and a “Fertility Calender” to their demographic predominantly comprised of teenage girls and tweens.
Seventeen Magazine went on to state that Spring Break in Panama City Beach was a “grim reality” filled with trash, drunks and casual sex. Descriptive words capable of summing up any Frat Party. Hell, if you want to get really down to it, out-of-control antics like those, are present in every town across the nation.
A large concert in Atlanta suddenly erupts in gunfire, some party in New York lands the kids in the hospital for excessive drinking, and then of course, for some college-age kids, that might just be any random Friday night out in San Francisco.
My point is, that it’s the people that bring the excess, not the location. A more constructive article would have been one that offered tips on enjoying the school break while remaining safe and aware. As opposed to running a piece dismissing Spring Break in PCB.
There’s a level of responsibility that needs to be accepted by those visiting our town. If you want to enjoy Spring Break, don’t make dumb choices. Don’t drink too much, drink some water, eat some food, use sunblock and don’t make out with weirdos or strangers.
Our Police Department works hard to maintain the safety of everyone who visits or lives in Panama City Beach but it’s up to those visiting to meet us in the middle.
TDC/CVB Feb 8 meeting offered an in-depth look into the 2011 marketing strategies as well as an opportunity to check out the newest TV Commercials.
The Real. Fun. Beach commercials were created to hit specific markets and have two versions in rotation, aimed at targeting Couples and Families.
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This is the second article in a series that explores 2011 Tourism Predictions for Panama City Beach.
We’ve checked in with the airport, and now it’s time to turn our questioning minds to the resorts.
In an effort to snag an idea of early predictions for the 2011 season, we touched base for a little Q & A session, with Paul Wohlford, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for the Resort Collection of Panama City Beach.
Jan 11th’s TDC meeting offered an eclectic mix of information.
Starting with the Vice-President of the Canadian Snowbirds, Nancy Hopcraft, who caught my attention with the mention of the ‘Birds working on a potential “Retiree Visa” allowing those who qualify an opportunity to spend more time in Panama City Beach (or anywhere in the Nation). It’s a wonderful idea, and one that’s sure to bring about an economic boost but we’re looking at least 2 years, before hearing any final words.
This is the first article in a series that explores 2011 Tourism Predictions for Panama City Beach.
Spring is right around the corner, and along with the knowledge of the coming season, we’re finding that our town is divided into three parts. The Optimists, The Pessimists and The Realists.
At times, it looks as though the Realists Team and the Optimists Team are on the same page, leaving the Pessimists to bemoan, well – everything.
For the most part, the Panama City Beach community is fanning those beginning sparks of excitement, while remaining optimistically cautious, over the vast potential of the 2011 tourism season.
Instead of sitting around speculating any longer, we decided to check in with some of PCB’s seasoned pro’s, those business savvy locals, who’ve been through this whole tourism thing a time or two.