The Greater Rome Convention & Visitors Bureau (GRCVB) released their 2015 Annual Report on Tourism and the statistics are strong for Floyd County. The report shows an upward trend with an increase of more than 37.81% in tourism spending throughout the county since 2005.
The bureau reports a study from the U.S. Travel Association shows tourists spent $138,760,000 in Floyd County during 2014, the most recent year that results are available. Additionally the tourism industry supported 1,262 jobs throughout the service and hospitality industries. Travelers to Rome and Floyd County generated $4.97 million in state tax revenue and $4.09 million in local tax revenue. Each Floyd County household received $224 in tax relief per household as a result of taxes generated by tourism economic activity.
In addition to the significant overall tourism impact, the office also reported sport, group, and event business that the GRCVB directly assisted generated $15,814,569. “This strong impact number speaks to the effectiveness of the tourism office in Rome, said Chris Darwin, Chairman of the GRCVB Board. “The bureau’s hard work to build relationships with many community and state partners is foundational in attracting tourism to Floyd County.”
Events with the most economic impact in 2015 included the Wings Over North Georgia Air Show, Counterpoint Music & Arts Festival, Filming of ABC-TV Kingmakers, Jehovah’s Witness Conference and multiple tennis tournaments.
“When someone visits Rome—whether it be for a sports tournament, conference, wedding or simply to enjoy our beautiful trails and outdoors—they always leave having enjoyed the great southern hospitality our town has become known for,” said GRCVB executive director, Lisa Smith. “They remember those experiences and it makes them want to come back year after year.”
In addition to economic impact, the report highlights a wide breadth of achievements accomplished by the bureau from product development where three new websites and a visitors app were created; to sports tourism where the USTA Clocktower Classic Wheelchair Tennis Tournament was awarded Tournament of the Year by the USTA for the second consecutive year; to promoting local artisans where the Visitor’s Center’s Last Stop Gift Shop sales increased 15% year over year.
With the success of the past year, the GRCVB set many objectives for 2016. Major goals include: marketing to support business goals of Rome Tennis Center at Berry College, expanding partnerships and connections with regional and national sports organizations, aggressively marketing The Forum to attain new and multi-year contracts, and continuing a sales focus on objectives that increase hotel room nights.