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ECP is seeing a boom in flight bookings

Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 10:31 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - More and more people are choosing Panama City Beach as their vacation destination.

A trend Northwest Florida International Airport Executive Director Parker McClellan says he has seen since last May.

”We saw a decrease in March into April [2020], with the peak of the bottom in April with May coming back up so we have seen all those numbers on a steady rise,” McClellan said.

And McClellan tells us recently the airport has seen a significant increase in people booking flights.

”About mid-March, we saw a pretty good increase as a result of Spring Break, and we have been fairly busy exceeding our numbers from the previous year, as well as even our peak in 2019,” McClellan said.

While many visitors are flying in for Spring Break or the Easter holiday weekend, some visitors tell us they wanted to come to Florida and Panama City Beach in particular due to the state’s more relaxed regulations regarding COVID-19.

“If I had to choose between here, which it is chilled on the mask thing, and somewhere else that was maybe even better, if you can get better, that was harsher on restrictions I would choose here in a heartbeat,” tourist Denise Smith said.

McClellan adds he does expect the rise in business to continue.

”The schedules continue to get revamped for additional flights this summer so we are excited about all of these positive changes to our airport,” McClellan said.

McClellan says people have discovered the uniqueness of Panama City Beach because of the pandemic.

”We have been this hidden gem and that we hope that the new visitors that we have seen will convert from their beaches to our beaches and come back year after year,” McClellan said.

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