There's a lively discussion over at PCBDaily about Spring Break and its affect on our local economy and PCB's reputation.
I'm curious what our vistors think?
Feel free to read through the 50-something comments associated with that post... I'll re-post mine below for your convenience.
Panama City Beach Spring Break 2008 - list of schools here this week | pcbdaily.com
1. During the last 20 years that PCB has been a major Spring Break destination, the local economy has exploded. Look at the number of new resorts and businesses that have been established… especiially recently. Pier Park? Town of Seahaven? Grand Panama? The new Airport? I’m not saying it’s because of Spring Break, but all of these companies and organizations invested here because they saw the growth we’ve had over the last 2 decades and see potential for more growth, despite PCB being known as a Spring BReak hotspot.
Additionally, PCB has increased the amount of YEARLY visitors dramatically over the last 20 years, even if you exclude the Spring Break numbers.
Could the local economy have done better if we weren’t known for Spring Break? Maybe, maybe not. Or maybe SB did have a positive effect on us. Impossible to say for sure, but when the local economy grows at a faster pace than the national economy, it looks to me like our leaders have been doing something right… and that includes Spring Break.
2. I don’t know where you guys were this month, but I spent every day of March eating at local restaurants and shopping in local businesses and I can say that I’ve seen plenty of families in the crowd. And yes, most of them were obviously visiting. Doesn’t look to me like Spring Break scares away all families as many people have suggested. I also still see plenty of snowbirds and families going in and out of the hotels during March.
I think the big picture is that the lure of our area is much, MUCH bigger than Spring Break, or any (percieved) negatives that may acompany our reputation for Spring Break. I predict our local economy will continue to outpace the growth of the national econmomy, regardless of Spring Break. I think we will have more businesses and initiatives like Pier Park open during the next 10-20 years, despite Spring Break. I think our visitor base will continue to grow over the next two decades even if we continue to be known as a Spring Break hotspot. And I think these new businesses and visitors will either love Spring BReak or tolerate Spring Break, but they will have to co-exist with Spring Break during the month of March.
P.S. Surely you nay-sayers give credit to visitors to be intelligent enough to know that Spring Break is during March and not year round. I really think that saying our reputation for Spring Break affects our yearly visitors is an empty argument. 99% of the people I’ve met in my life are smart enough to know that Spring Break doesn’t happen in June and July.
P.S.S. Open your eyes… PCB is as beautiful as it’s ever been (as long as you don’t mind all the new condos)… we’re receiving more visitors and revenue than we ever have before… why change a co-existence that IS WORKING????
P.S.S.S. I think most of the objection to Spring Break is based on morals (including poeple from the comments above), rather than economic effect on our area. Can’t win a debate when you’re trying to convince someone to accept something against their morals… it just won’t happen.
Disclaimer (for Bryan): I work for a local website that promotes Spring Break, but we don’t really profit from it.. other than a few extra pageviews. Spring Break as far as I’m concerned… I could take it or leave it… as long as leaving it didn’t hurt the local economy (doubtful).
Comment by Steve — March 28, 2008