Tourism gains continue in Macon, customer service an issue at local businesses
Friday, October 19, 2012 3:00 AM
Tourism is continuing its upward trend here, Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau officials said Friday at the group’s 32nd annual meeting at Macon State College.
A large portion of the tourism came from convention groups: Macon had 110 in fiscal 2012, resulting in 15,883 “room nights” at area hotels.
Lisa McLendon, executive director at the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House, sees the direct impact of tourism in Macon.
“It’s surprising to see how many people from out of state and out of the country who visit,” she said before the meeting started. “Just this month we’ve had someone from Tennessee, Kentucky, two guys from Holland, Germany, New York. Even if they don’t stay (overnight) they’re going to get gas, or buy a Coke.”
According to the United States Tourism Association, in 2011, tourism in Macon generated:
• 3,270 jobs (3,210 in 2010)
• $72.59 million in payroll ($70.65 million in 2010)
• $300.15 million in tourism spending ($278 million in 2010)
• $11.77 million in state tax revenue ($11 million in 2010)
• $8.54 million in local tax revenue ($8.28 million in 2010)
Convention groups were surveyed on their stay here and an overall 90.6 percent customer satisfaction rating resulted.
“Service was an issue,” said the CVB’s Robin North during her presentation. She said many visitors reported less than “Southern hospitality” at too many local businesses.