CHIPLEY - Washington County Tourist Development Council is one of five tourism and development entities to receive part of a $858,000 marketing allocation form Florida's tourism-marketing arm.

"Our organization will continue to find ways to support the Panhandle’s recovery from Michael," News Service Florida quoted Visit Florida President and CEO Dana Young's prepared statement.

The marketing grant funds from Visit Florida will be used to boost tourism to communities hit hard by Hurricane Michael. Washington County's TDC was awarded $48,800,  Panama City Community Development Council, the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau and Gulf County has been awarded $250,000 each, and Jackson County has been awarded $60,000.

"It's going to give us a big boost for our spring and summer crowds," said TDC Director Heather Lopez. "One that we wouldn't be able to do without those funds and it's going to help us to retain the visitors we may have lost during the hurricane."

At its last meeting, the TDC approved the robust marketing package, which encompasses digital, print, video and social media marketing. The campaigns will be aimed at attracting drive and day-trip tourists, officials said.

"This was a wonderful opportunity that we were provided by Visit Florida, our community is definitely grateful that we have the opportunity to keep our economy and tourism going during this tough transition period after the hurricane," Lopez said.

The TDC will receive the reimbursement grant monies at the end of June.