Promising tourist season awaits PCB

Nathan Cobb
Walton Sun

PANAMA CITY BEACH — With summer approaching, officials have high hopes for this year’s peak season.

According to Lacee Rudd, spokeswoman for the Panama City Beach Tourist Development Center, the housing pandemic that was caused by Hurricane Michael skewed 2019’s bed tax numbers to a point where the group won’t use them in any analyses.

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“We’re not comparing last year’s numbers to previous years due to the misplaced residents and out-of-town workers that stayed in the area due to Hurricane Michael,” she wrote in an email.

However, Rudd added that 2019 was “a good year all things considered.”

She said that last year’s collections wouldn’t be available until about April. Bed tax is a fee paid only by short-term visitors. Because of this, it can be used as a good indicator of how a tourist season went.

In 2017, more than $1.3 billion was collected in Panama City Beach, Rudd said. She added that number increased to more than $1.4 billion the following year.

With a lengthy list of local events planned from February to April, she hopes tourism will continue to increase this year.

Featured upcoming events include: Emerald Coast Boat & Lifestyle Show from Feb. 28-March 1, Emerald Coast Cruizin’ from March 4-7, PCB Scottish Festival from March 7-8, UNwineD Craft Beer, Wine & Arts Festival from March 20-21, PCB Beer Fest on April 4, “Stories Would Could Tell” Parrothead Rendezvous from April 16-19, Tacos & Tequila on April 18, Cajun Festival from April 20-26, Seabreeze Jazz Festival from April 22-26, Sandjam from April 24-26 and Thunder Beach from April 29-May 3.

“Panama City Beach continues to market the area as a year-round destination,” she wrote. “We are excited to welcome new and returning visitors to Panama City Beach as we roll into the Spring and Summer travel seasons.”