PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WJHG / WECP) – The COVID-19 pandemic started around this time a year ago. And with that came downtime just before the normally busy tourist season.
“It was a very difficult spring last year,” said Dan Rowe, president of the PCB Tourist Development Council.
The Tourist Development Council reports that business fell 50% in March 2020, but it increased as people drove to the beach who were locked in other areas.
“We did very, very well in the summer and fall and we believe it will continue this year,” said Rowe.
A year after the pandemic started and over two years after Hurricane Michael, business continues to improve.
“We are now looking the way we would normally see in the spring and summer when you can get rid of the pandemic. If you can turn off Hurricane Michael, we’ll get back to normal, which is a wonderful thing, ”said Rowe.
Robin and Linda Baxter from Pennsylvania are among the many vacationers visiting Panama City Beach for the first time.
“I’ve always had a family that vacationed here 20 or 30 years ago and they loved it, but this is my first time. Oh my god, I don’t want to go, ”said Linda Baxter.
TDC leaders expect the upward trend to continue as they attract a mix of loyal vacationers and first-time visitors when they’re ready to hit the beach after a long year of pandemic.
“Our future is very bright. I mean this is the place everyone else wants because we look forward to being in a good place. We will continue to perform very well as everything is fine, ”said Rowe.
Copyright 2021 WJHG. All rights reserved.