The Economic Impact of Tourism report said Carroll County received $122 million in tourism expenditures last year, with tourism supporting 1,160 jobs, an increase of 2 percent from 2010.
“Tourism is the best kind of economic development,” said Jonathan Dorsey, executive director of Carrollton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Tourism generated $7.92 million in state and local taxes in Carroll County last year, which means $250 tax relief per local household, 20 percent more than in 2010.”
Dorsey said the numbers are a really positive indication during rough economic times.
“Carroll County is blessed with a variety of attractions that bring people here and back to visit,” he said. “These include our parks, sports tournaments, university activities, cultural arts presentations and special events.”
Dorsey said many people work together to bring new tourism, including local governments, chamber of commerce, schools and parks and recreation departments. He said all help get the message out about local attractions.
“The beauty of this is that you get this return from spending by folks who don’t live here,” he said. “This is not something hitting the property tax till. This is support from people, all over, who come here to visit. It benefits the entire community, including hotels, restaurants and retail stores. If tourists spend money here, it pays the employees of the businesses, who then spend their money in the community. The money filters down through the local economy and touches everyone.”
Dorsey said Carroll County also has a strong business travel segment of people who come to the county each week.
“Our corporate citizens are really committed to the idea of bringing people in to interview, train and attend meetings,” he said. “Business travel has remained very strong here, which is not the case in many communities.”
Dorsey said he expects the tourism numbers to be even stronger when the figures for 2012 are released next year, due to tourist attractions added during this year.
“We added the Little Tallapoosa Park, the downtown amphitheater and began development of the GreenBelt,” he said. “Plus, this weekend we have the opening of the quilt and textile museum. Both Main Street Carrollton and the Convention and Visitors Bureau have released smartphone apps to help visitors find attractions.
“When you look at something, like tourism, that’s a revenue generator, tax reliever and job creator, that’s a pretty awesome economic impact driver,” Dorsey said.