The Chattooga Chamber today announced it has been awarded a Tourism Recovery Marketing Grant from Explore Georgia, the state tourism office within the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). The Explore Georgia Tourism Recovery Marketing Grant program supports marketing efforts to bolster the recovery of Georgia’s tourism industry from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chattooga Chamber was among 34 tourism entities across 27 counties who received a combined total of nearly $1.5 million in recovery marketing funding as part of this one-time grant program.
Governor Kemp and the Georgia General Assembly approved $1 million in the amended FY21 state budget for tourism recovery. Because of the substantial number of grant applications – from 58 organizations totaling nearly $2.5 million in funding requests –Explore Georgia contributed an additional $1 million from the state tourism marketing budget to fund as many grants as possible. The Explore Georgia Tourism Recovery Marketing program also includes $500,000 in co-op matching funds, for a total of $2 million in recovery support.
The Chattooga Chamber, acting as the marketing arm for the entire county, including the county’s tourist attractions, venues, community events and outdoor recreational activities, is putting forth the following marketing plan for 2021-2022. Our mission is to advance the common interest of our membership, stimulate the expanding regional economy and enhance the quality of life for all. Our goal for this marketing plan is to improve the economic footprint as it relates to tourism by promoting our attractions and businesses.
We have our Big 3 attractions: Sloppy Floyd State Park, Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden, and Summerville’s Historic Depot & Turntable with Main Street events and train excursions. Other attractions include kayak launches on the Chattooga River, Trade Day flea market and parks in each of our four municipalities.
“We are excited about this opportunity to increase our promotion of Chattooga County, our businesses and all we have to offer”, said Sole Commissioner Blake Elsberry.
“Georgia is a beautiful state and as we continue to recover, I look forward to working alongside our industry partners to promote the state’s incredible tourism assets to travelers across the globe,” said Pat Wilson, commissioner of GDEcD. “These grants are an important tool for our industry organizations, the majority of which are small businesses, to begin their recovery efforts. We are dedicated to rebuilding travel and tourism across our state because Georgia’s diverse economy cannot fully recover until our tourism and hospitality industry is thriving once again.”
The Explore Georgia Tourism Recovery Marketing Grant program was designed to provide relief to areas of the state most impacted by the drop in tourism and will fund promotional efforts to aid the travel industry’s recovery in 2021. The grants awarded have prioritized organizations and communities that have experienced the greatest impact from the loss of visitors and subsequent tourism spending during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we head into a summer when we expect to see a tremendous reemergence of domestic tourism and the economic prosperity that travel brings, the funding of these grants recognizes the importance of communicating the diversity of visitor experiences across Georgia that are close to home for so many Americans,” said Mark Jaronski, deputy commissioner of tourism at GDEcD. “Thanks to a great working relationship with our destination marketing partners across the state, we believe that we can be most effective in what’s expected to be an incredibly competitive landscape by marketing Georgia to the American public together and complementing the state’s tourism recovery campaign Ready. Set. Georgia.”
The applications were evaluated based on need, quantified by the year-over-year loss in Hotel-Motel Excise Tax collections for the organization, and the change in unemployment in the organization’s county. Grant recipients received 100% of the award amount requested on their applications.
About Chattooga Chamber
The Chattooga Chamber’s mission is to advance the common interest of our membership, stimulate the expanding regional economy and enhance the quality of life for all. We accomplish our goals through working within the community across all areas: Business, Industry, Governmental, Tourism and Outreach organizations. We connect our membership to the tools and resources needed to succeed, and we fully support and help lead Economic Development in Chattooga County.
About Explore Georgia
Explore Georgia, the tourism division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development is the state’s official destination marketing organization. Through its home office in Atlanta, nine visitor information centers across Georgia, and a network of tourism representatives across the globe, Explore Georgia inspires travel to and within the state through marketing programs developed and executed in partnership with the state’s travel industry. The division works to advance Georgia’s tourism industry that represented $69 billion and supported more than 484,000 jobs in 2019. Learn more atExploreGeorgia.org.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state’s sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a destination for arts and location for film, music, and digital entertainment projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. Visit www.georgia.org for more information.