Defense, hospitality remain Okaloosa's main employers

Published: Friday, April 26, 2013 at 07:03 PM.

Crestview area hotels saw a marked increase in bookings as snowbirds and spring breakers discovered north county hotels were a better bargain — and more likely to have last-minute rooms available — than properties farther south.

Proximity to Fort Walton Beach and other nearby bodies of water helps.

"People can stay in Crestview and still participate in a beach vacation," Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce incoming President Dennis Mitchell said.

Mopping up the oil spill impact

"We're anticipating an even better season this year as we recover from the unwelcome BP oil spill event," Sumblin said.

Though Crestview is 30 miles from the closest beach, the threat of oil from the April 2010 BP spill had local impact, she and Mitchell said.

"The advantage is clear," Mitchell said. "We get all those folks coming through, and they go to all three counties (Okaloosa, Walton and Santa Rosa). We see them a lot. We depend on those beaches a great deal.

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