South Walton Prepares For Spring Break - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

South Walton Prepares For Spring Break

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In a few short weeks, the beaches of South Walton open their sands to the throngs of Spring Breakers.

The South Walton Tourist Development Council said they are ready to welcome them back, but residents and business owners have voiced their opinions on the growing popularity of South Walton as a Spring Break destination.

They fear greater, more rowdy crowds will bring trouble to the traditionally family based environment, but the TDC said not to worry.

"All of us as a community, this is what we do in Walton County. The economy is tourism based," said Ervin.

The sands of South Walton have grown to international fame, with an unprecedented 20 months of double digit growth; but visit South Walton's John Ervin said this has worried the locals concerned about an influx of tourists the area isn't ready for.

"It sort of sounds like a tidal wave coming at you with spring break. But the truth is if you stop and think about it, we don't have more accommodations in South Walton that the previous years," said Ervin.

What it does translate into is greater cash flow to area businesses.

"We might see 20 percent increase in spending this spring," he said.

It's an economic bolster that Ervin is welcoming.

"We're proud that the brand is working and is worth people paying good money and saving up all year to be here," said Ervin.

What the TDC is hoping to get across is increased tourist safety.

A new "wave safely" campaign is kicking off, promoting the flag color system; and, like years prior, increased law enforcement will be patrolling the beach, ensuring the partying is kept under control.

"We're fortunate to have fewer headaches than some locations around the nation do. We still have issues that we work very hard to try to minimize," said Ervin.

Ervin says over half of his staff is scouring the beach picking up trash and getting the beach beautiful for the spring vacationers.