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Panama City Beach in top five for winter travel destinations worldwide

Real Estate Agent with Latitudes Realty

PANAMA CITY BEACH - Panama City Beach has been named one of the top five winter travel destinations by CNN.com, along with such notable vacation spots as Paris and Costa Rica.

The website's editors talked to experts on value vacationing from such publications as STA Travel, Student Universe and Smarter Travel for recommendations on the best deals designed to put the winter blues in the rearview mirrors of tourists seeking the best bang for their buck.

The Panama City Beach/Panama City area logged in at No. 3, just behind Costa Rica and Lima, Peru, but ahead of Boston and London/Paris.

"Panama City and neighboring Panama City Beach aren't just for spring breakers," according to CNN.com. "Indulge in shopping, helicopter tours or spend a day at Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum. With highs in the 60s even during winter, there's always something to do in the area."

Dan Rowe, executive director of the Bay County Tourist Development Council, said he was thrilled at the recognition, coming as it does on the heels of recent comments by First Lady Michele Obama that Panama City Beach and the beaches of Northwest Florida were "a national treasure."

"We are thrilled they have recognized Panama City Beach," Rowe said. "This is a great beach that is worth coming to and checking out."

The recognition comes in the wake of recent popular events that pulled large numbers of visitors to the area, including Ironman Florida, where 2,851 athletes registered for the competition, and Taste of Bay, which included a free Clint Black concert. The always well-attended Emerald Coast Cruizin' car show arrives this weekend at Frank Brown Park, with its classic autos, muscle cars and "street rods."

November 10, 2010 05:32:00 PM PAT KELLY / News Herald Writer

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