Friday, July 11, 2008

Georgia's Tourism Partners Awarded $1 Million in Grant Funds

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), through the Georgia Tourism Foundation, has awarded $1 million in co-operative tourism marketing reimbursement grants to 86 communities, convention & visitor bureaus, regional travel associations and other non-profit tourism entities across the state.

The grant program will assist communities in reaching a larger audience through marketing projects that they may not have been able to fund completely on their own. Typically, the grants supplement existing funds that the communities set aside for marketing projects. Awardees must submit a final report showing that their program has met the State's criteria prior to their reimbursement.

"The co-op marketing grants program encourages public-private partnerships among state and tourism entities allowing us to support the marketing initiatives of our tourism entities," said Charlie Gatlin, GDEcD Deputy Commissioner for Tourism and Marketing and Executive Director of the Tourism Foundation. "The economic impact of the funded projects will contribute significantly to our tourism industry."

This year, the Foundation received 101 applications with grant requests totaling more than $1.5 million.

Independent judges scored the applications based on several factors including project goals and objectives; benefit to the community; positive economic impact; and the ability to attract and service visitors.

The Georgia Tourism Foundation allows for the creation of new public-private partnerships that merge and strengthen Georgia's tourism marketing efforts, in order to attract more visitors and increase the industry's economic impact throughout the state. The Foundation was created in 2005 through Senate Bill 125, spearheaded by Senator Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga and Representative Ron Stephens of Savannah, as part of Governor Perdue's Commission for a New Georgia. This non-profit, public-private organization brings together the leadership of the state's premier tourism destinations to consolidate marketing efforts, pool resources and more effectively promote Georgia's natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich attractions to vacationers.

Recipients of the 2008 co-op marketing grants include:

. Activities Council of Thomson, Inc.

. Acworth Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

. Alpharetta Convention & Visitors Bureau

. Americus Sumter County Tourism Council

. Andersonville National Historic Site

. Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau

. AthFest, Inc.

. Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau Foundation

. Atlanta Metro Travel Association

. Augusta Canal Authority

. Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau

. Augusta Museum of History

. Better Hometown of Wrightsville, Inc.

. Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

. Booth Western Art Museum

. Brunswick Stewbilee, Inc.

. Callaway Gardens - Ida Cason Callaway Foundations

. Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau

. Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce

. Chiaha Guild of Arts and Crafts

. City of Jesup

. Clayton County Convention & Visitors Bureau

. Coastal Heritage Society

. Columbia County Convention & Visitors Bureau

. Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau

. Columbus Sports Council

. Coweta Festivals, Inc.

. Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau

. Douglas Area Welcome Center

. East Central Georgia Travel Association

. East Cobb Quilters' Guild

. Fernbank Museum of Natural History

. Flannery O'Connor-Andalusia Foundation, Inc.

. Folk Pottery Museum of NE Ga. Sautee Nacoochee Community Association

. Georgia Civil War Heritage Leader's Trail

. Georgia Coast Travel Association

. Georgia Innkeepers Association

. Georgia Shrimp Association

. Georgia Society Sons of the American Revolution, Inc.

. Georgia State Fair, Inc.

. Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation

. Georgia's Antebellum Trail Association

. Golden Isles Arts and Humanities Association

. Greater Augusta Arts Council

. Hay House

. Historic Augusta, Inc.

. Historic Highland Country Travel Association

. Historic Roswell Convention & Visitors Bureau

. Historic Savannah Foundation

. Historic Heartland Travel Region

. Jekyll Island Convention & Visitors Bureau

. Jones County/Gray Chamber of Commerce

. Kingsland Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Authority

. Macon Arts Alliance, Inc.

. Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau

. Madison-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce Foundation

. Magnolia Midlands Regional Travel Association

. Metter/Candler County Chamber of Commerce

. Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum

. Milledgeville-Baldwin County Convention & Visitors Bureau

. Monticello Economic Restructuring, Inc.

. Morgan County Historical Society, Inc.

. Museum of Arts and Sciences

. Museum of Aviation Foundation

. National Black Arts Festival

. NE Georgia Mountains Travel Association

. Newnan-Coweta County Convention & Visitors Bureau

. NewTown Macon

. Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation

. Perry Area Chamber of Commerce

. Perry Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

. Plains Better Hometown Program

. Presidential Pathways Travel Association

. Roberta/Crawford County Chamber of Commerce/Peach Blossom Trail Travel Association

. Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys Association

. Savannah Music Festival

. St. Marys Convention & Visitors Bureau

. Statesboro Arts Council: Averitt Center for the Arts

. Statesboro Convention & Visitors Bureau

. Thomaston-Upson Chamber of Commerce

. Tybee Island Tourism Bureau, Inc.

. Valdosta Asian Cultural Association, Inc.

. Valdosta Lowndes County Conference Center & Tourism Authority

. Valdosta State University

. Vidalia Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

. Vidalia Onion Festival

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