Condo Owner

Volume19 Issue3 2015

Condo Owner publishes information vital to the business and pleasure of resort condominium ownership. Topics covered relate to real estate market trends, community association matters, rental management issues, tax and insurance updates and more.

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Page 38 of 51

V O L U M E 1 9 • I S S U E 3 condo owner 39 Of course, there have been media reports that some members of the community oppose the alcohol ban because, they argue that, as with former Florida spring break hotspots, the season contributes signifi- cantly to Panama City Beach's yearlong economy. Longtime area economist Dr. Rick Harper calls Panama City Beach "one of the most seasonal metro areas in one of the most tourism intensive states," and said that in 2013, tourism related spending accounted for 38 percent of all taxable retail sales in March, whereas the number dropped to 29 percent throughout the year. The same occurred in other Florida desti- nations that were spring break hotspots: tourism-related spending increased in March and decreased throughout the rest of the year. In Fort Lauderdale, when spring break visits peaked in 1984, March tourism- related sales were at 23 percent compared to 19 percent for the year. In Daytona Beach, during its peak in 1989, the numbers were even higher at 30 percent for March and 23 percent for the year. Both Fort Lauderdale and Daytona Beach now have beach alcohol restrictions imposed year round and their reputations as spring break destination have significantly diminished. Strange doesn't deny the new restrictions will have a financial impact. "Other desti- nations did suffer initially," she said. "But they went on to enjoy an improved image." How to accomplish that? Strange, North and Sellers all pointed to the many natural resources and newer, contemporary devel- opment features, such as Pier Park and the area's top notch sports facilites, that should be emphasized rather than marketing the area as a spring break party destination. "We've done all this great stuff, but you can't take away this one negative," Sellers said of Panama City Beach's Spring Break image. And, all emphatically agree that the goal is to have visitors continue to frequent and enjoy the area and success will follow. "This is a beautiful place with a lot to offer, and we want people to come enjoy them- selves," North said. n

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