The summer tourist season in Panama City Beach is nearly over and 2013 is on pace to be a record year.
Board members of the Convention & Visitors Bureau and Tourist Development Council reviewed June bed tax receipts, the most recent data available, during their Tuesday meeting.
For the month, visitors paid $2,956,806 in bed taxes, an increase of 8.10% over 2012. So far in the fiscal year that began last October, revenue of $9,944,968 is 7.42% ahead of last year.
"It's wonderful news for Panama City Beach," Dan Rowe, TDC Executive Director, said. "It just reinforces the fact that this is a great beach destination... we have seen strong growth for the last three years."
"We showed a little bit of falloff in terms of reporting units but the revenue number is up," Andy Phillips, TDC Chairman, said. "We probably have more people visiting which means our occupancy numbers are going to be up and also the average daily rate also is probably increasing."
Tourism officials are optimistic that July's rainy weather simply drove visitors indoors and not away from the destination. "Although they were not able to enjoy the beach like they normally would in July, they were here and they found plenty of activities to do which is a good reflection on our destination," Phillips said.
"Two feet of rain in the peak month of the year is tough for the beach but we did see a lot of visitors and we still have visitors here this week," Rowe said. "We may have lost last minute, spur of the moment travelers but hopefully we can pick that visitation up in August and September."
In other business, the TDC expressed no desire to fund lifeguards on Bay County beaches as has been suggested by some community leaders, including county commissioner Guy Tunnell. Providing lifeguards is not part of the TDC's mission, board members said.