Bookings to Northwest Florida Vacation Destinations Surge by Almost 20%

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A sudden trend is emerging which suggests more people are interested in booking a Northwest Florida vacation than ever before.

Northwest Florida Vacation Destinations Experience Surge in Bookings

Northwest Florida Vacation Destinations Experience Surge in Bookings

Our spring business has really grown. We had a lot of college kids here (in March) as well as families traveling with children and snowbirds staying at the condos on the beach longer.

The trend of increased bookings to Northwest Florida vacation destinations immediately follows what has been described as a record breaking College Spring Break season in Panama City Beach, Florida. Shannon Posovad of Collegiate Marketing Group (CMG), an agency that markets Panama City Beach to students, claims that the beach destination saw a nearly 20 percent increase during the month of March according to the latest round of bed tax numbers, exceeding expectations. This fiscal year alone, the Panama City Beach bed tax has collected a little over $415,000 dollars.

Hotels serving other popular Northwest Florida destinations have recently reported similar trends, indicating an increase in interest to the region. In nearby Mobile, Alabama, a region located right next to Northwest Florida, lodging tax revenue increased month to month in January, February and March, according to Beth Carriere, director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, and in each case was higher than the same months in 2011, she said. Many popular Northwest Florida vacation destinations such as Seaside, Destin, and Pensacola Beach have made similar observations.

The popularity of a Panama City Beach Spring Break is an obvious factor, but tourism officials are also crediting the increase to Panama City Beach’s ability to appeal to many different demographics, it’s location within the state of Florida, and by focusing it’s marketing efforts on those groups able to travel at certain times of the year. Dan Rowe, executive director of the Tourist Development Council (TDC) commented, "Our spring business has really grown. We had a lot of college kids here (in March) as well as families traveling with children and snowbirds staying at the condos on the beach longer."

On May 2nd 2012, Southwest Airlines, the US-based low-cost airline headquartered in Texas, announced a new nonstop flight serving Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. The flights will commence on June 3rd 2012, and run until August 11th. The flight is a direct route from St. Louis to Panama City Beach, Fl. “Anything that makes it easier for folks to come and enjoy our 27 miles of sugar white sandy beaches is a great thing” said Keith Burelle, Manager of the World Famous Tiki Bar in Panama City Beach.

It’s not just the “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches” that attract so many tourists to Northwest Florida, it’s also the special events that take place each year. Rich Law, general manager of Thunder Beach, a bi-annual motorcycle rally in Panama City Beach, said in a quote to reporters of the Panama City News Herald, “The economic impact of the spring rally was right up in the $12 to $15 million bracket.”

Eager to capitalize on this increase in tourism, and to maintain Panama City Beach’s marketing efforts, Rowe, and the TDC is looking to extend the 5th cent bed tax for Panama City Beach, which is currently set to expire in 2014. Last fiscal year it was responsible for collecting nearly $2.6 million dollars.

Hotels in Panama City Beach like the Sandpiper Beacon Beach Resort welcome these reports as they prepare for the summer 2012 season. “Whatever the reasons are that bring people to our beautiful beaches, we’re pleased to provide the opportunity to stay at an affordable beachfront hotel with lots of fun activities all year round” said Patrick hazard, General Manager of the Sandpiper Beacon.

The Sandpiper Beacon Beach Resort is a beachfront family-friendly Hotel and Resort in Panama City Beach, Florida. Known as the “Fun Place” the Sandpiper is committed to value; offering so many activities, amenities, and so much entertainment, that many guests never leave the resort during their vacation. Find out more at

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Patrick Hazard
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