Boosting Tourism

Residents in Wakulla County say the key to boosting the economy there is boosting tourism. A revitalization effort is underway in Panacea to give that small fishing village a major facelift.

Folks are talking about creating more storefronts, renovating fishing piers and turning the tiny town into a final destination rather than a rest area for tourists.

Its mystic appearance and simpleton lifestyle are selling points in Panacea, Florida, as more tourists flood the forgotten coast. Panacea wants a piece of the pie, attracting tourists is the goal; something longtime locals have mixed feelings about.

“I've lived here most my life, we've enjoyed it the way it's been but development has got to come. It's almost unstoppable,” says Mike Barwick, a Panacea fisherman.

Panacea means “cure all” in Latin. Legend has it years ago folks would journey south to these springs to cure all ailments.

Today, as you can see many folks cruise on through this sleepy fishing town. That's where these folks come in, a waterfront committee who want to makeover the town's features to keep tourists from passing by.

“What we want is to guide that change to retain our resources but a t same time come into the 21st century,” says Bonnie Holub, Wakulla County Tourist Development Director.

And the group is making headway. Holub says the brand new visitor center is almost ready for guests and renovations at local fishing piers are underway.

If you ask Delam Thomas, time is of the essence. His business could use a boost so he could take down these for sale signs.

“We're gonna have to do something to get business better. I want to get out of debt- I'm tired of debt,” says Delam Thomas, a seafood wholesaler

More plans are underway to create storefronts around rock landing pier, and talk of condos has been spreading around town.