Visitor Guide

Winter Chautauqua Tourism Conference Enlightens and Inspires in Rome, Georgia

Posted March 6, 2024 by Kristi Kent in News, News Release

Tourism professionals from across the state gathered in Rome, Georgia, on March 3-4, 2024, for the 33rd Annual Winter Chautauqua tourism conference. The conference was presented by the Northwest Georgia Travel Association and hosted by the Georgia’s Rome Office of Tourism. The event brought together industry leaders and tourism professionals for two days of networking, education, and dynamic discussions.

The conference, held at Berry College Krannert Center, provided a platform for professionals to delve into the latest trends, strategies, and innovations shaping the tourism landscape. Attendees were treated to an array of insightful sessions, featuring engaging speakers and thought-provoking discussions.

Keynote speakers Lauretta Hannon and Garrett Nudd captivated the audience with their expertise and unique perspectives on the power of storytelling. Hannon is the Executive Director of the Georgia Northwestern Technical College Foundation and Nudd is the Associate Vice President of Marketing and Brand Strategy of AdventHealth Georgia Market and President of the AdventHealth Georgia Foundation. Hannon, a renowned author and speaker, shared her insights on using human connections to tell the stories not written in books to connect with visitors, while Nudd,an accomplished photographer and seasoned marketing professional, delved into the importance of how the stories we tell shape the stories others create.

The conference also featured breakout sessions throughout the day on Monday; topics included food tourism, public relation strategies, G4 analytics, social media marketing and agritourism. Local presenters, Julie Smith, Rome-Floyd County Transportation Planner and Aundi Lesley, Director of Downtown Development were invited to speak at the conference.  Smith presented on the power of partnerships in trail development and Lesley presented on leveraging data-driven studies to inform impactful policy changes. These sessions provided invaluable opportunities for attendees to gain practical knowledge and connect with peers in the field.

Amanda Dyson-Thornton, Executive Director for the Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus shared an update on 2024 legislative priorities in working with policy makers to promote and support tourism. Jay Markwalter, Statewide Tourism Director shared how the Georgia Department of Economic Development continues to partner statewide to drive continued growth and economic impact of tourism in Georgia.

In addition to the enriching conference program, participants enjoyed a delightful Sunday evening historic trolley tour of downtown Rome, a visit to the Rome Area History Center, and dinner at the host hotel, Fairfield Inn and Suites.

Organizers were thrilled to bring Winter Chautauqua to Rome, creating a vibrant space for tourism professionals to collaborate and gain fresh insights. The event successfully blended education, networking, and cultural experiences, reflecting the commitment of Georgia’s Rome Office of Tourism to fostering growth and excellence in the tourism industry.

For more information on upcoming events in Georgia’s Rome, visit

The Georgia’s Rome Office of Tourism is the official destination and sports marketing organization of Rome and Floyd County, Ga. The Georgia’s Rome Office of Tourism’s mission is to strengthen the economic prosperity of the community through tourism development by attracting leisure travelers, conventions, meetings, sports and events.

About the Author

Our Georgia's Rome tourism team works hard to curate content to help you discover and explore our beautiful town! We want to ensure our content is up-to-date and accurate; so please let us know if we ever overlook an important detail! This post was originally written by Kristi Kent and is updated by staff.

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