Florida Town Reverses, Courts Spring-Breakers
Panama City Beach is looking to rev up tourism after BP spill
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2011 4:54 PM CST
In this March 20, 2008, file photo, spring breakers take part in a dance contest during MTV in Panama City Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Phil Coale, File)

(Newser) – A year and a half ago, Panama City Beach in Florida decided to try to shift its image from party central for college students on spring break to a more family-friendly destination, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has brought a quick change of heart. With tourism numbers down, town representatives have been on a full-court press at snow-bound Midwest campuses.

"When the kids come down here and have a great time and see our beaches are clean, they'll be our ambassadors and tell the rest of the world," says the president of the town's visitors bureau. Panama City still intends to beef up its image among the non-college set, but for now it can't afford to lose those 300,000 annual visitors in March.