Augusta, GA -
Yes, there is more to Augusta than the Masters Tournament.
The Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau will present the 2013 State of Tourism report to the Augusta Commission on Tuesday.
Two previous presentations by the Bureau were postponed earlier this year due to weather. 2013 as a great year for tourism in the Garden City, according to the report.
Hotels saw a 5 percent increase in revenue -- which means a 5 percent increase in sales taxes paid by visitors. This, in turn, keeps taxes down for Augusta residents.
“We have 7000 hotel rooms in town, and on an average night, we have 5000 people spending the night in our hotel rooms, and they’re spending about 1.2 million dollars per day,” said Barry White, Visitors Bureau president. “What we don’t recognize and what we don’t see as locals is…when you’re out at a restaurant, about 25 percent of those people are from out of the area.”
Augusta tourism has seen a continued growth trend over the last 5 years, and the bureau believes the city will continue to draw in new visitors in 2014.
The Bureau believes the Garden City has long used its history and heritage as a hook to draw in visitors and new residents.
Now they want current residents to use that old fashioned southern hospitality to keep it going.
“Next time they have a visiting friend or relative in town for a couple of days, we want them to say, let’s go to the Woodrow Wilson House or go to the Lucy Laney Museum, let’s spend the afternoon playing tourist in Augusta, instead of going down to the zoo in Columbia. We want them to stay here first,” White said.
The Bureau says in 2014 they hope to target a younger audience. They plan to make an announcement about a new tourism campaign in May.