Today’s Atlanta Journal Constition home page has a couple interesting features that should grab our attention in Bay County.
First, if there’s any negative news about our town, Atlanta loves to poke at it. Girls Gone Wild and Spring Break stories are always promoted at the front, and it always makes Panama City out to be a trash hole.
Panama City Beach is the closest beach to Atlanta. We’re even just as close as Hilton Head, SC, and closer than Georgia’s own St. Simons Island. It’s arguable that other Georgia beaches are closer, but when comparing that part of the Atlantic to our Gulf… is there really any comparison?
Our image in Atlanta is terrible. When I told this to TDC leader Bob Warren, he snapped back that “21% of our visitors come from Atlanta.”
Really? A whopping 21%? (that’s almost a million visitors.) Don’t you think we should be able to boost that number significantly for a huge city that’s only a short drive away? (and soon to be completely 4 lanes?)
We’re 5 hours away from 5 Million people, and the former TDC group decides to spend money marketing to places like Cincinnati, OH. The biggest problem is that the higher-income Atlantans are heading an extra 40-60 miles west of us, and plopping their money in Walton and Okaloosa.
We should focus on renewing our image in Atlanta before we do anything else. They are our low-hanging fruit, and if we clean up this place, we’ll see loads of dollars coming across the Hathaway bridge.
The other interesting article on the AJC site, appropriately titled “Lessons in Hospitality,” indicates a pet-friendly hotel in midtown is doing well. People love their pets, and most markets carve out at least a little place to attract dog owners. It’s crazy to me how the dogs-on-the-beach issue is more important to most Bay Countians than the trash issue. Would you rather step in dog poop, or glass? Or how about a dirty diaper?