Washington County Tourist Development Council looks to put info sign up at 231 visitor center

[email protected]

Due to visitor interest, the Washington County Tourist Development Council (TDC) is planning to place an information decal on the visitor welcome center along Highway 231 and will be working with Jackson County on the project.

The window cling will go on the center’s front and door and have a QR code with information about the region. The center was shut down after the State Legislature cut tourism funding years ago.

“We asked them to bring it back after the Legislature upped their budget and we’ve been working with Visit Florida and (the Florida Department of Transportation) District 3 trying to come to a solution on getting that center back open,” TDC Executive Director Heather Lopez said during a TDC meeting June 4. “That center directly impacts Northwest Florida counties. When we used to go set up at 231, I’d say 95% of people coming through that center were vacationing in a Northwest Florida county. Losing that was a huge impact to us.”

Getting the center back open will take time and the cost will also have to be factored into the public budget, Lopez said.

“It takes about a half a million dollars to run that center per year,” she said.

The TDC came up with the idea for the QR code decal “in the meantime while they’re trying to figure this out,” she continued.

“There are a lot of people still stopping there and they’re upset because they can’t get any information,” Lopez further said. “DOT is still running the bathrooms. The bathrooms are still open.”

DOT reportedly agreed to the decal after a meeting with Lopez and the Jackson County Tourist Development Council.

“The QR code will take (visitors) to a landing page,” Lopez said. “The thing is with Jackson County and Washington County, we’re the easiest two counties to get to lodging, dining, if these people don’t already have a place to stay or they’re looking for somewhere to stay overnight–which we get a lot of.”