Last week was national Travel and Tourism Week, and the team at the Gulf County Tourism Development Council decided to celebrate in a big way.
On Thursday, May 5, there were food trucks lined up in front of the Gulf County Welcome Center. There were booths from local organizations on the lawn, and a hot air balloon hovered in the air to the building’s right.
The Gulf County TDC’s 2022 Tourism Fest brought in hundreds of visitors and gave the organization a chance to show off the county’s newly renovated welcome center.
The center, which is located at 150 Captain Fred’s Place in Port St. Joe, was badly damaged during Hurricane Michael.
Kelli Godwin, the director of the TDC, said that it has taken years of continuous effort for the new ramps to be installed and the new paint rolled onto the new drywall.
“We have finally gotten our Welcome Center put back together piece by piece from the hurricane,” She said. “We’ve got new paint, new deck, new ramp, a lot of things inside, and we just want everybody to come see it.”
Roughly 30 percent of Gulf County’s total jobs are in the tourism industry, according to Godwin.
The event, which is the first of its kind, aimed to celebrate tourism in Gulf County and the local organizations, businesses and individuals who sustain it.
“We have had a fantastic day,” Godwin said. “We started the day at 7 a.m. Eastern… We had people lining up at 6:30. Lots of people.”
“Just eyeballing it, I’d say we’ve had close to 600 people already,” she said a little more than halfway through the event. “It’s just been a great day for a celebration, and it’s been fantastic.”