Tourism is Economic Development!

July is almost at an end. Many Berrien County families have been on the road since the end of the school year trying to squeeze that family vacation in before the start of school in August. If you took a trip out of town this summer, even for the day, guess what you are called? If you answered, a tourist, you are correct.

Visitors that do not reside in your community are considered tourists even if those visitors are just in the community to shop for groceries.
This may seem odd as we usually associate a tourist as being someone who takes a trip for pleasure or culture but any visitor to the community is considered a tourist.
Think about the last vacation you took to the beach or mountains for a week. Did you spend money to get there and a lot of money while you were there? Of course you did! This is why tourism is economic development.

Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries. It is essential to the community’s economic vitality, sustainability and profitability! Even little old Berrien County needs tourism! In the state of Georgia, it is one of the most important industries and heritage tourism is the fastest growing segment of the industry.

Does Berrien County have a rich history and heritage! You bet it does. If you don’t believe me, take a quick peek at the work that is being done by Bryan Shaw and members of the Berrien Historical Society to get ready for the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibit, “Hometown Teams – How Sports Shape America” which will open August 4th and remain on exhibition through September 24th. To correlate to the Smithsonian’s exhibit, Shaw and many volunteers have been working for almost a year preparing “Berrien County’s Hometown Teams Sports Exhibit,”which is located in the Old Berrien Courthouse. Many former Berrien County players who do not reside in Berrien County will certainly make plans to visit both exhibits. These former players, coaches, families will definitely be tourists.

On September 24, the annual Harvest Festival will also return to Nashville bringing in additional tourists.   Next month, I will talk more about tourism as economic development and its impact on the economy.   Good news concerning our sales tax revenues for June with these revenues being up slightly from the month of May. Let’s take a look at our sales tax revenues for the month of June: LOST – Alapaha – $3,657.06; Enigma – $3,664.85; Nashville – $21,608.32; Ray City – $4,313.38; Berrien County – $73,604.44. SPLOST – Berrien County Board of Commissioners – $105,857.20. ELOST – Berrien County Board of Education – $107,840.51.

Continuing to Buy Berrien will help to push our sales tax revenue higher! If you have any questions, concerns or ideas for the Chamber, give me a call and let’s chat!