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Popular local attraction welcomes crowds of tourists

Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 8:29 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - As a tourist destination, the spring season is one of the most important times of the year for Panama City Beach businesses. And businesses like Gulf World need spring visitors to keep the doors open.

“Our tourism is very important. Of course, we all know it gets very slow during the winter and we need to make enough money to feed the animals and keep everything going through the slower season,” Park Director for Gulf World Marine Park Pamela George said.

Due to the pandemic, tourism officials weren’t sure what to expect this season.

“For a while, we weren’t seeing the reservations come in so we were very anxious,” Vice President of Marketing for Visit Panama City Beach Jayna Leach said.

But Leach said tons of bookings started to come in at the last minute.

When the pandemic hit around this time last year, even our most popular tourist attractions were looking empty. George said that last March, they were lucky to have even one hundred guests. But this year, they’ve had hundreds coming in every day.

“We’re excited that people are coming to Panama City Beach. Coming to play and have fun. We’re just lucky to be a part of that,” George said.

Tourism officials said this year’s spring season was key to seeing how our upcoming summer will look.

“It’s been particularly important this year because it has been the one-year anniversary of COVID,” Leach said.

Leach added that our numbers are on-track with previous years and ahead of pace for the upcoming seasons.

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