What tourism in PCB is expected to look like in 2023

Memorial Day weekend is the big kick-off for the summer season, and it's looking like a crowded...
Memorial Day weekend is the big kick-off for the summer season, and it's looking like a crowded one for Panama City Beach.(WJHG/WECP)
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 5:57 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - 2022 was another superstar year for Panama City Beach, bringing in more people than pre-pandemic. Now tourism leaders are looking to keep the ball rolling in the new year with a jam-packed calendar.

Panama City Beach kicked off 2023 with a bang, hosting its annual Ball Drop in Pier Park. But the city won’t be slowing down this year.

“The next big event we have on the calendar is the Mardi Gras, which is about a month from now the first week of February and then we continue to roll through the year with a lot of other events,” Dan Rowe, President and CEO of Visit Panama City Beach, said.

Frank Brown Park is home to some of the biggest events in the area. Twice a year bikers from across the country come to rev their engines at the Thunder Beach Rallies and country music fans fill this park to the brim for Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam. Both events will be returning in 2023.

While big events tend to drive in the big numbers, that isn’t the only thing bringing people to the beach these days. Last year, the Publix Sports Complex brought in a whopping $139 million to the area, which is a massive push for local businesses.

“You know the sports complex, being on the east end of the beach really does help in the summertime spread folks out you know, all the way around the beach so that everybody’s not at Frank Brown Park and Pier Park,” Rowe said. “You know, the residents in Panama City Beach, don’t have an ad valorem tax, you know to fund the city. A lot of the city’s funding comes from our visitors.”

But for some visitors, good food and beautiful weather are reasons enough to come.

“This is our fourth year and we keep coming back. We enjoy the people down here. They’re very friendly. The food is wonderful,” visitor Dale Perszyk said.

“Weather is great. We love to be on the beach,” visitor Rae Perszyk said.

Something for everyone, which is what makes it the “Real Fun Beach.”