Destination Panama City develops game plan for sports tourism market

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG / WECP) – Some would say Panama City Beach is hitting a home run in the sports tourism industry. But on the other side of the bridge, some would say they are knocking.

“In previous years, Panama City itself never really had an economic strategy for sports tourism,” said Jennifer Vigil, CEO of Destination Panama City.

A strategy that the managers of Destination Panama City are currently implementing in strategic planning.

“I see tourism and sport as a very important growth industry here in our city. We’ve always been linked with tourism, but sports travel is exploding across the United States and Panama City is really starting to catch on, ”said Chris Pfahl, director of basketball operations for Southern Elite Sports.

They said that when you play sports in the community you often bring families and large groups.

“And it’s really having a positive economic impact and it’s the kind of travelers that we love to see come and enjoy the region,” said Vigil.

We are told it would be an economic slam dunk for the region.

“Head to bed, eat at local restaurants, visit local tourist attractions, walk our areas, find all that Panama City has to offer,” said Pfahl. “For us, that’s also really part of the experience. We don’t just sell our basketball tournaments, we sell the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful Florida vacation.

Strategic planning will look at the terrain in the area and what they are able to do with the plots.

“It could be water sports, indoor sports, flat field sports or diamond sports,” Vigil said.

This strategic planning also looks at what citizens need, which would help them grow as a community.

“Basically it helps us to develop a strategic plan so that we are better informed to take the next steps towards sports tourism and strategic leisure planning in the city,” Vigil said.

Vigil said Destination PC has a contract and partnership with the Huddle Up Group to provide the Sports Tourism Index.

“It’s kind of like a matchmaking service for event rights holders and facility owners. If we can somehow help these people come to Panama City and work as a liaison between the event rights holders and Panama City.

Vigil said the strategic plan is fully funded by Destination Panama City and would like to reiterate that it is not a city project. Right now there are no concrete plans to build anything, it’s just a matter of defining the possibilities. She said they expect to present the plan at the PC Destination board meeting on January 11.

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