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Economics and Tourism

How many times have you heard the remark “Navarre will turn into a Destin”? It seems like whenever there is any opportunity for us to grow our local economy, that old cliché works its nasty head into the mix somehow. Making Navarre into a Destin would be like trying to play football on a volleyball court. We just don’t have the real estate here to support that type of expansive growth.

That shouldn’t mean that we give up the hope of developing our local economy though. Santa Rosa County is truly poised for greatness, but it will take local leaders who will not only envision it but who will implement it as well. An investment in the Pass is an investment in the future of our county. The pass will bring hotels, which bring jobs for local citizens. The hotels bring tourists, which bring bed taxes for the county. The tourists bring their cash which is spent on charter fishing, dive trips, boat rentals, Jet Ski rentals, services which are provided by local citizens. The increased interest in our county is also attractive to the restaurant industry. Restaurants bring jobs and opportunities for us to cash in on the entertainment dollars currently spent in Escambia or Okaloosa Counties, not only by tourists but by our local citizens as well.

The trickle-down effect is endless: hotels bring tourists who buy fishing trips from charter boat owners who buy their bait from the local bait shop who employ local fisherman who spend their money in the local restaurants that sell the “catch of the day” caught by the local fishing fleet. Many strings of this type can be drawn. The bottom line is: what can we do as a county to stimulate local spending and capitalize on the millions of dollars that we funnel into our neighboring counties simply for lack of an alternative. “Build it, and it will come.”