MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Tourists have brought in more than $328 million to Macon-Bibb County in 2014. Convention and Visitors Bureau representatives say travel is a major economic generator for the county. 41NBC’s Alexa Rodriguez has more on the CVB’s celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week.
“This is our big holiday for the whole year,” said Robin North from the Macon-Bibb CVB.
North looks forward to National Travel and Tourism Week.
“Tourism and travel, in general, is a huge employer and a huge economic [impact] for the entire nation. To be able to spend a week making everyone aware of how much impact tourism has, maybe make them appreciate visitors a little bit more,” explained North.
The CVB reports the U.S. brings in about $947 billion directly from tourism. Macon-Bibb brought in about $328 million in 2014.
“Hotel, transportation, if they’re renting cars here. If they’re eating in restaurants, if they’re buying souvenirs. The attraction tickets,” continued North.
Tourism in Macon-Bibb also created 3,309 jobs, produced $78 million in payroll and almost $9 million in local tax revenue, according to the CVB.
Getting people to visit starts with attractions.
“This is one of those evergreen, economic development tools that if you can develop your downtown [and] develop your area to keep bringing visitors, you’re probably going to have a continuous flow of economic development,” said North.
Then strategic advertising comes into play.
“We try to advertise at least 50 miles away from Macon that way we can drive people to come in and hopefully spend the night because if they spend the night, they’re going to spend more money,” explained North.
North said she’s seen a steady increase in Macon-Bibb visitors since she started working at the CVB in 2011.
The attractions they want to see the most? Lake Tobesofkee and the Hay House.
On Wednesday, the Macon-Bibb’s CVB will be giving free tours of the city in its new van. Tours start at 11 a.m. and will run every 30 minutes. The last tour will leave at 1 p.m. No reservations are needed.