Macon, Georgia- The Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau held its 31st annual meeting today at the Holiday Inn Macon North. The CVB shared the 2010 United States Travel Association Economic Impact Report which revealed Macon ranked 10th of 159 counties for 2010 tourism expenditure levels.

In 2010, Macon-Bibb County tourism:
•Generated 3,210 jobs
•Produced $70.65 million in payroll
•$278.08 million in direct tourist spending
•Created $11.09 million in state tax revenue
•Generated $8.28 million in local tax revenue

Monica Smith, Macon-Bibb County CVB President and CEO, stated, "We will continue our efforts to aggressively market and sell Macon as a major tourism destination within the state of Georgia and the southeastern region." She also maintained "The CVB remains committed to establishing benchmarks and maintaining plans for future sales, services, marketing and branding efforts." Smith added, "The CVB will focus on efforts to increase the economic impact from tourism by maintaining a strong and proactive focus on convention sales, communicating new and existing opportunities to drive sales and build attendance at hotels, museums and attractions, and utilizing technology to improve marketing efforts with tourism partners in reaching visitors."

Two tourism awards were presented which recognized the contributions of individuals who have made a positive impact on Macon's travel industry.

The Otis Hughes Tourism Award was awarded to a person who has contributed significantly to the Macon tourism industry and has given unending time, talent and skill to support Macon's tourism growth. The 2011 Otis Hughes Spirit of Tourism award was presented to Betty Mock, owner of Molly's Cafe. She exemplifies the tourism spirit through award winning customer service and commitment to providing great southern style dishes at reasonable prices. Many visitors refer to Molly's as their favorite downtown eatery because of the gracious staff, friendly atmosphere and tourism spirit.

The B.J. Cain Top of the Line award was presented to a person who works directly with a visitor at an attraction, restaurant and/or hotel/motel/inn and goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide an exemplary experience for the visitor. Donald Miller is the 2011 winner of this award. Miller currently serves as a "Red Coat" for the Marriott Macon City Center and exceeds guest expectations through his demonstration of joy, attention to detail and making each guest feel as if they are royalty. Miller also ensures each group has a seamless meeting, event or convention and the best experience possible. He has lived and worked in Macon for 20 years.

The meeting concluded with a social media and online marketing presentation from Steve Chandler owner of ChandlerThinks. He is a digital marketing and branding strategist with over 15 years experience with traditional ad and destination marketing agencies. He has worked with over 40 communities around the country.

The Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau is a non-profit organization created exclusively to market Macon and Bibb County regionally, domestically and internationally to both groups and individuals, in order to enhance the economy and increase employment.