The 2008 TDC/CVB Strategic Planning Process Begins

by January 25, 2008 • 2 comments

The Bay County TDC/CVB began its 5 year strategic planning process with a 6 hour workshop held at Edgewater Beach Resort on January 22nd. The workshop was moderated by Bob Allen, Chief Storytelling Officer, from Integrity Arts and Technology, Inc. ( Approximately 33 round-table participants included local businesses and government representatives, CVB staff members, representatives from Y Partnership(the CVB’s advertising and public-relations agencies), and educators from both Gulf Coast Community College and Florida State University. All TDC/CVB board members were present with the exception of Rick Russell and Mike Nelson. There was no participant from Paradise Found Resorts in this important process which this writer believes is unfortunate.

The session began with each of the participants introducing themselves and naming one goal they have for Panama City Beach. The next task was to consider what the world will be like in 2013 and how it will affect PCB. Each table was assigned a separate consideration (International Trends, the Panama City Beach Product, Personal Leisure Time, the Economy, Technology, the Environment, and Social Values).

A short brainstorming session then took place where participants were asked for short phrases to describe what they hope PCB both IS (including culturally diverse, year-round destination, eco-friendly, technologically aware, internationally recognized, service at its best, and a community working together) and IS NOT (including Redneck Riviera, underwater, Destin, overbuilt, seasonal destination, Spring Break Capital of the World) in 2013. Participants were also asked what they WISH for 2013 (including better paying jobs, more attractions, diversified economy, full capacity airport including a low-fair carrier, a spring training facility, and a marketing budget equal to 400% of the current amount).

Allen then had each table prepare a short goal positioning statement for PCB in 2013, regardless of how realistic it might be. These statements were then passed on to another table whose objective it was to list specific obstacles to the goals. Obstacles mentioned included:

· The conflict between growth and the environment

· The lack of available governmental funds

· The anti-growth movement in the county

· The lack of a convention center

· The lack of tourism research data

· A lack of interest in investing the money required to become “green”

· The seasonality of our weather

· The tourism community’s difficulty in deciding on common purposes

· PCB’s image

· The fear that the TDC/CVB will be protective of special interests

· A perception that our county has a “good old boy” network that makes investment difficult for outsiders

· Global warming

· The perception that our tourists industry has a lack of appreciation for their employees

· Time Poverty – Less time available for vacation

· Tourist business that are not interested in remaining open year-round

· The ethnic and economic segregation of the county

· A belief that Bay County is hostile to new people and new ideas

· The lack of youthful leadership

· A lack of development incentives in place

· Public opposition to tax increases, including the bed tax

· The conflict between personal interest and industry-wide goals

· The lack of trust between tourist businesses

· The cost of housing and related expenses(e.g. taxes and insurance) in the County

· The lack of good paying jobs in Bay County

The final activity was for each table to come up with what “We Could . . .” do to overcome the top two obstacles for each goal positioning statement. Suggestions included:

· Raising the bed tax (many tables suggested)

· Convincing the community to embrace change

· Greater cooperation between businesses

· Encouraging the community to communicate and listen better

· Providing financial incentives to encourage new investment

The workshop ended with Allen and President Rowe explaining how the Strategic Planning Process will move forward. The anticipated schedule is that notes and findings from the workshop will be published and distributed by March 1st. Public comment will be encouraged through April 1st. The notes, findings, and public comments will be reviewed by the Board at their April meeting. And finally, the defined 5-year Strategic Plan will be completed by June 1st.

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1 Charles January 31, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Hi Jason,

Great coverage, thank you! I personally think that the session was a wonderful start to the “new” Panama City Beach and eagerly await the first findings on March 1st.



2 Buddy Wilkes February 10, 2008 at 4:26 pm

I just found your blog, and really enjoyed the recap of the TDC/CVB Strategic Planning Session. Great job. I look forward to following the way you monitor and report about the happenings regarding Panama City Beach.