July Tourism Devastated in Panama City Beach

In what was supposed to be the best July we’ve ever experienced in Panama City Beach, threat of oil-covered sand and fear of ruined vacations kept visitor’s away.  This summer was supposed to be the beginning of a new era in Panama City Beach tourism growth with high expectations from the performance of the new airport and the millions of dollars of extra marketing money that was being pumped into the awareness of our area.  Local officials, organizations and industry leaders had literally been working up to this summer for years in anticipation of record breaking numbers; and it was all crushed by what some would call a series of blatant mistakes that could have easily been avoided.

Continue reading “July Tourism Devastated in Panama City Beach”

Southwest Airlines Marketing Working

One of the cool things about bringing in Southwest Airlines to the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport was that we get to take advantage of SWA’s amazing marketing success. This proven track record of creating an immense brand awareness so far has proven invaluable so far in marketing Panama City Beach, and it couldn’t come at a better time.

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Panama City Beach Featured on CNN – “Oil is being easily cleaned up.”

CNN’s Tom Foreman was here talking to local tourism officials about the oil situation.  It’s a fair representation of what’s going on down here.  The bottom line is that we are having some tarballs coming ashore in several areas, but they are being cleaned up within hours of them being spotted and once they are gone, there’s no sign of them being there.

They talk to Panama City Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau CEO Dan Rowe and Edgewater Beach Resort’s Michelle Lacewell.


Panama City Beach Oil Spill Update VIDEO

As of today, there still has not been any oil reported in Panama City Beach.  Skies have been clear, the beach is beautiful and the water is looking great.  I was at the beach this morning and much of the June grass was gone, at least in the area I was in.  Right now we are slightly in the 72 hour area of uncertainty meaning we could see some landfall in the next several days, but not definite.  Officials have stated that the material that MAY make it here this week or next is highly weathered, sparse and easy to clean up.  We’ve been told that it should be nothing more than an inconvenience when it gets here.  Here’s the video.  More later.

7 Reasons Panama City Beach is Still the Perfect Vacation Spot!

With all the media coverage, conflicting news reports and heartbreaking images surrounding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, it’s understandable to fear for the spectacular white beaches of Panama City Beach. Local residents and business owners are already feeling the effects without so much as a tar ball in sight, and concerned vacationers are left confused about whether the potential for oil will jeopardize this year’s hard-earned family vacation. While predictions are optimistic and the beautiful beaches of Panama City Beach remain clean and open for business, here’s a reminder that even away from the beaches, Panama City Beach is a great choice for a fun getaway or a relaxing break in our sun-drenched paradise. Here’s a list of reasons to come on down anyway. Continue reading “7 Reasons Panama City Beach is Still the Perfect Vacation Spot!”

Coastal Vision 3000 Bought by FRLA

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) announced today the acquisition of Coastal Vision 3000, a private, non-profit tourism and economic development group in Northwest Florida.  Coastal Vision’s executive director Mel Ponder will lead the transition to FRLA over the coming months.

“The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association is proud to work with and compliment the efforts of Coastal Vision 3000,” said FRLA President and CEO Carol Dover.  “This merger will allow for greater marketing and branding efforts, and growing the economic development of Northwest Florida through the hospitality and tourism industries, one of the state’s main economic engines,” she continued.
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Debi Knight Starts her own Tourism Company

Debi Knight, Past President of the Greater Panama City Beaches Chamber of Commerce for sixteen years, has started her own company, Panama City Beach Tourism Services.  The company specializes in marketing, management, sales, consulting and travel.  Panama City Beach Tourism Services has also joined the National Tour Association.

“Membership with NTA will allow Panama City Beach Tourism Services to network with other travel industry partners and provide the best quality services and products to the traveling public,” said Debi Knight, President/CEO.  “I am excited with the opportunities we have to sell our breath-taking beaches, heart-pounding adventure, eco- tours, historic walks, day trips, customized packages and more. Working with my fellow colleagues locally and regionally will enhance why Northwest Florida is so unique”.

As a NTA member, Panama City Beach Tourism Services also has access to numerous educational programs, as well as the networking and business opportunities at the NTA Annual Convention.

The National Tour Association is the preferred association in the tourism industry for packaged travel professionals.  NTA’s diverse membership and progressive nature make it an industry leader as the place to do business.  NTA consistently seeks innovations for the services and business tools it provides to members, and the leadership keeps its fingers on the pulse of the ever-changing world.  In turn, NTA members are some of the most creative in the dynamic travel industry.  NTA membership represents 34 countries, and tour and travel packagers of all types, including a group, independent, student, and more.  To learn more, visit www.NTAonline.com and www.travelpcb.com.

Kudos to TDC

I complain often about the results of TDC efforts, but I will say that the new strategic plan is a great accomplishment for Dan Rowe & Co.  As long as we achieve all 4 initiatives as a destination, I don’t care how we get there.

Everyone who cares about tourism should download this plan, learn it, share it and live it.  The county must work together to help the TDC / CVB execute the plan.

One way to help execute the plan is to give your ideas how to achieve the 4 initiatives.  This website is one of the new ways that a community can get together and share their ideas.  If you are a tourist industry leader, please let us know how you would execute different parts of the plan.

PCB White Sale Campaign update – with stats

YPartnership’s PCBWhiteSale launched on May 5 2008 with PR and strategic ad placements hitting all the major feeder markets to our area. Besides the creative being weak at best on their “coupon” web site, the actual campaign numbers don’t look that bad.

Part of what I do at my day job is analyze web stats, so this is right up my alley.

The report, available for download below, defines “total hits” and “user sessions” and reports from May 4 to May 23. Based on what Peter Yesawich of YPartnership was saying at the strategy workshop I can only assume in the web stat world, “user sessions” would have to mean unique visitors. Seeing as total pageviews is defined, I would say this is correct.

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2008 Bay County Tourist Development Council Strategic Plan

Today at 2pm at the Bay Point Marriott is a public workshop discussing the 2008 Bay County Tourist Development Council and Panama City Beach CVB Strategic Plan.

Below is a link to the rough draft outline.

Some of the key initiatives include:

  • Protect our key asset, the beach
    • Seek additional funding from state and federal sources
    • Develop additional beach maintenance, grooming, recycling and trash removal
    • Work to enhance the overall beach experience
  • Develop Panama City Beach in a year-round tourist destination
    • Look into an enhanced Sports Complex and convention center
    • Entice sports promoters to hold sporting events here
    • Work with Audubon Society to develop eco-tourism opportunities in Bay County
    • Attract new family friendly entertainment venues that operate year-round
    • Embrace a strong special events philosophy to assist existing events, foster new events, and attract additional events to the community

Continue reading “2008 Bay County Tourist Development Council Strategic Plan”