Panama City Beach is Back in Business!

Many people who are unfamiliar with Northwest Florida tend to combine Panama City and Panama City Beach into one, which means people may believe both cities are temporarily closed to recover from Hurricane Michael.

That\’s why tourism officials are adjusting their marketing strategies to show people that most of the beach is up and running and is welcoming visitors.

While city leaders are sending their condolences to those east of the Hathaway Bridge, they\’re also focusing on marketing.

They say the area will be serving as the economic engine for all of Bay County for a while.

\”We are changing up some of our marketing and messaging after the storm and we definitely want to let all of our visitors know we are here, we are recovering, and we have a lot of businesses that are open.\” Vice President of Marketing Jayna Leach said.

Marketing officials are also planning new campaigns and events to keep visitor numbers up.

The message could not be clearer, marketing consultant Mary Winslow said: “We’re still here, and the Beach is looking great!”

That, in a nutshell, constitutes the Bay County Tourist Development Council’s new $8.1 million strategic marketing plan for 2019.

The initial phase, which will run from Thanksgiving through the end of the year, will focus on using local voices and online inputs to convey the “inspirational” message to potential visitors, “This is our community (and) we want to share it with you,” Winslow told the board. “This is your home away from home.”

Then beginning in January, the wide array of print and TV advertisements, online videos, podcasts and other social media elements will shift to a more proactive stance, Winslow said.

“We will encourage visitors to start planning their spring and summer vacations,” she said.

The third phase, which will span the tourism season itself, will embrace a full range of marketing and advertising to show the Beach as an active and vibrant destination.