Goodbye, Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

Hello, Destination Augusta.

Local travel and tourism officials gathered outside the city’s Augusta & Co. tourist information center Thursday afternoon to unveil a new regional brand to coincide with the re-emergence of vacation travel from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Especially after this extremely challenging year we had in 2020, we are now beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel as we take steps confidently as an industry toward recovery,” said Bennish Brown, president and CEO of the newly-christened Destination Augusta. 

“‘Convention and visitors bureau,’ outside our industry, sounds a little bureaucratic,” Brown said. “We feel Destination Augusta truly reflects our focus on marketing for visitors and bringing in new business.” 

Destination Augusta President and CEO Bennish Brown wears a lapel pin with his organization's new logo, during Thursday's ceremony announcing the rebranding.

As COVID initially surged last year, the organization shifted to a mode of “react, rethink, recover” to help themselves and the community weather the pandemic, said Brandon Haddock, chairman of Destination Augusta’s board of directors. 

“We very quickly pivoted our approach from a priority of marketing our destination to prospective visitors to a more inward sharing of meaningful information from the people who live here in Augusta and the region around us so that they knew the benefits, the attractions, that they could take advantage of even during the time of pandemic, to keep themselves occupied and take their minds off what we were all living through,” Haddock said. “When people stopped traveling to our hotels it was important that we became a valuable, relevant resource of local information to support our businesses.” 

Brandon Haddock (left), chairman of Destination Augusta's Board of Directors, and Bennish Brown, Destination Augusta's president and CEO, stand with their organization's new logo.

In the background of that new focus, he said, the organization began talking about rebranding into a group that exuded boldness and excitement. More than three dozen ideas were pitched. 

“We also wanted a name that recognized our responsibility to enhance our city as a destination in collaboration with its residents, its businesses and the organizations that live and work here,” Haddock said. “Among all the possibilities we considered, we chose the one that required the least amount of explanation.”

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