REPORT: Panama City Beach Continues Record-Setting Tourism Numbers

REPORT: Panama City Beach Continues Record-Setting Tourism Numbers

Early summer tourism in Panama City Beach, Florida has once again seen record numbers, trumping last year’s benchmark tourist season.

The Bay County Tourist Development Council (TDC) has reported a nearly 20 percent increase in bed tax collections for the month of June over the prior year, making it 15 straight months of collection increases. (May saw a 25 percent increase over last year and got the summer tourism season off to a record breaking start). And even though July’s numbers aren’t finalized yet, the local tourism industry can be well assured that the early months’ numbers have indeed solidified Panama City Beach’s return as a premiere go-to destination for vacation travelers.

Bed Tax, or officially known as the Bay County Tourist Development Tax, is a tax on revenue generated from tourism accommodations rentals.

The tourism season got off to a healthy kick-start as local business owners reported a strong Spring Break crowd in March. Hotels collected nearly $1.8 million in bed taxes during the popular period, an increase of 19.4 percent over March, 2011.

According to comments made earlier in the spring by Dan Rowe, Executive Director of the TDC, “the rebounding economy also has relieved a lot of the downward pressure on prices, so hotels have been able to charge more for rooms and bring in more revenue.”

Bed taxes are used to fund all the activities of the TDC, including beach maintenance and renourishment, programs and the joint marketing agreement with Southwest Airlines.

The tourist development tax is a 5% bed tax collected from a special taxing district that represents an area of Bay County from Phillips Inlet bridge on the west end to the intersection of Thomas Drive and West Highway 98 on the east end. Area also includes Shell Island and Crooked Island. The Bay County expanded tax district of Mexico Beach includes all of the area east of the Tyndall Air Force Base property line and south of the Intracoastal Waterway.

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