Panama City Beach, FL -
City and county officials have announced that Spring Break has run its course in Panama City Beach and will no longer be marketed or advertised to college students.
The Tourist Development Council, Bay County Chamber of Commerce, City Council members and Bay County Commissioners have agreed to take steps to end Spring Break in Panama City Beach. The first of those steps is to take the nearly $500,000 budget for Spring Break advertising and marketing and, instead, use it to advertise to families and affluent travelers in major cities in the Northeast and Midwest. In fact, they plan to double the budget to almost $1 million.
"It's only the natural progression of things that have been happening to the Beach the past few years." says one official. "With the volume of higher-end condos and resorts that have been developed, we need to get bigger spenders in here to avoid a local economic collapse. It's an evolution, so to speak. Panama City Beach is growing up. Spring Break can't last forever."
Tourism officials are worried that the reputation Panama City Beach currently has as a Spring Break party town could significantly hurt its chances to lure a demographic of visitors capable of sustaining the quickly changing local economy.
In response to the city's new direction with tourism, officials will put new laws and oridinances into effect beginning in 2008, similar to those used by Daytona Beach in the late 90's when they decided it was time to end their reputation as a Spring Break party town. Exactly who the new laws and ordinances will affect remains to be seen.
The move has many locals concerned, since so many smaller local businesses depend on Spring Break as a major source of revenue. Officials have agreed to hold a public forum to discuss concerns and objections but, as one official noted, the decision to change direction has already been made. The meeting date and location of the public forum have not been be announced.
UPDATE: This was an April Fool's Day Joke. Everything in it was completely fabricated.