Panama City Beach in the New York Times

In a very interesting article posted in the New York Times, Panama City Beach was mentioned as one of the popular vacation destinations working hard to survive in the current economy. In several recent TDC and CVB meetings, Dan Rowe, chairman of the TDC, has praised Panama City Beach as a destination that has economically clutched the black ink while other destinations have slipped deeper into the red. This sentiment was again expressed by Mr. Rowe in the New York Times.

He was quoted as saying,

“The subtler sell is a hallmark of several campaigns intended to stimulate summer travel. For instance, the Convention and Visitors Bureau in Panama City Beach, Fla., is starting an online campaign with the YouTube unit of Google. Users who upload video clips to YouTube may see ads inviting them to enter a video creation competition sponsored by Panama City Beach (, with $50,000 in cash and prizes.

“There’s a lot of destinations that have had a tougher go of it than we have,” said Dan Rowe, president and chief executive of the Panama City Beach bureau, “but it’s tough here.”

“Demand has not come up to meet an increase in supply” of hotel and motel rooms, he added, “so rates are suffering; there’s deals to be had.” The campaign for the video contest is from Jennifer Barbee Inc. in Austin, Tex.; it is part of a summer marketing initiative by Ypartnership in Orlando, Fla.”

What I found most interesting NYT article, which focused on the difficult time vacation destinations are having economically, was the places on which it chose to focus. In the article you hear the big name destinations like Miami, Mexico, The Cayman Islands and even quotes from Travelocity representatives. My question is why did Panama City Beach make this article? If Stuart Elliot, the author of the article, were looking for smaller a destination to get a better range, why not Gatlinburg or Destin or even Daytona?  Why Panama City Beach?

My only answer has to be exactly what Dan Rowe is talking about. Compared to many places around the world, Panama City Beach is one of very few who continues to do well despite the economy. It should also be considered that in the very near future, New York may well become one of Panama City Beach’s new feeder markets. I know for a fact that New York ranks in the top five on both PCBDaily as well as SeePCB for visitorship. This NYT article, in some ways, was an introduction to New York, a “Hey, look at us now, and envision 2010,” sort of thing. A city that is prosperous in hard times is a city that, when the times get good, should break new grounds. It’s too early to tell, but at least we know that the first impression on a potential game-changing relationship was one of which Panama City Beach business owners can be proud.

To read the complete NYT article click here.

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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