Monday, March 3, 2014
Luke Chaffin, Special Projects Coordinator
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Annual report shows continued growth in local tourism
ROME, GA. — The Greater Rome Convention & Visitors Bureau (GRCVB) has released its 2013-2014 Annual Report, showing strong statistics for the tourism industry in Floyd County. The report shows an increase over pre-recession figures for the second year in a row.
The bureau reports that a study from the U.S. Travel Association shows that tourists spent $125,090,000 in Floyd County during 2012, the most recent year that results are available. In comparison, tourism expenditures were $117,220,000 for the previous year, and only $90,360,000 in 2003.
“We look forward to a great future for Georgia’s Rome with recession figures behind us, encouraged by more visitor spending as we continue to promote this wonderful community to leisure, meeting and group travelers,” said Lisa Smith, GRCVB executive director.
In addition to the increase in overall economic impact, the bureau also reported that sports, group, and event business with which the GRCVB directly assists and recruits is up from $9.4 million to $10.4 million in one year.
Events linked with the GRCVB having the most economic impact in 2013 included the Wings Over North Georgia Air Show, NAIA Football National Championship, and various Global Image Sports Soccer Invitational Camps held last July. Also well-represented on the comprehensive list were numerous tennis championships and tournaments, including the USTA Georgia Adult League Championship in May.
“When someone comes to Rome—whether it be for a sports tournament, conference, wedding or simply to enjoy the great outdoors—they always leave having met with the southern hospitality that our citizens have become known for,” said Ann Hortman, Rome Sports Commission director. “They remember those experiences and it makes them want to come back year after year.”
The bureau also announced significant increases in their marketing and public relations efforts. Website visitation at RomeGeorgia.org grew 23 percent to account for 62,412 visitors in 2013, continuing the success from the previous year when the webpage was updated and relaunched. Additionally, there was a nearly 38 percent increase in pages viewed per visit, and a 21 percent increase in average time spent on RomeGeorgia.org.
Another major accomplishment of 2013 was the development and creation of the Myrtle Hill Cemetery Mobile App, which was funded by the GRCVB and the Myrtle Hill-Oak Hill Memorial Association. The free audio-visual tour is available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices at www.MyrtleHill.mobi, and features over 40 different points of interest. The app was downloaded 1,189 times in its first year.
Other highlights on the GRCVB’s Annual Report include updates on product development, marketing and events associated with the Civil War’s 150th Anniversary, increased booking and visibility of the Sulzbacher Roman Holiday riverboat, the establishment and subsequent accomplishments of the GRCVB’s Rome Sports Commission, as well as the strengthening of Rome’s Camera Ready Community status, having hosted film crews from DreamWorks’ Need for Speed, which will be released in theaters this month.
The GRCVB has established many objectives for 2014, including increasing meeting and convention business by 25 percent each year for 2015 and 2016, establishing a Downtown Visitor Center, implementing a Standard Operating Procedure for special events, developing campaigns and travel packages to drive summer traffic, reaching out to potential visitors in the Chattanooga, Tenn. and Birmingham, Ala. markets, and continuing to work with hoteliers at existing and future properties throughout Rome and Floyd County.
“As our events and conventions base continues to show growth, it demonstrates the importance of having a larger inventory of hotel rooms,” said Smith. “With additional lodging properties and meeting spaces, our community is better positioned to be marketed to groups that will come into Floyd County and spend money on room nights, restaurants, shopping and everything we have to offer.”
Copies of the GRCVB 2013-2014 Annual Report can be picked up in the Rome-Floyd Visitor Center across from Applebee’s or online at www.RomeGeorgia.org/about-us/Annual-Report.
For more information on the Greater Rome Convention & Visitors Bureau and tourism in Rome and Floyd County, visit www.RomeGeorgia.org or call 706.295.5576.
The Greater Rome Convention & Visitors Bureau (GRCVB) is the official destination and sports marketing organization of Rome and Floyd County, Georgia. The GRCVB’s mission is to strengthen the economic fabric of the community through tourism development by attracting leisure travelers, conventions, meetings, sports and events.