And those are jobs that “cannot be outsourced,” CVB executive director Chuck Jones stated that at the organization’s annual banquet Oct. 24, “no more than America’s natural treasures or iconic cities themselves.”
Beyond the direct revenue churned out by the tourism and convention business, those visits also assist Athens recruit new businesses by encouraging visitors they should move here full time. Capital and jobs flow to places with a high quality of life, and progressively more entrepreneurs are keen to know about the city’s restaurant scene and whether it’s walkable. Tourism helps to strengthen Athens’ image as “a dynamic place to live and work,” Jones said.
Downtown Athens is “so vibrant,” said Lisa Love, director of the Georgia Economic Development Department’s tourism division. “There’s an energy there, and so much local flavor.”
Lisa Love enlisted five areas in Athens which should get focused efforts: African-American culture and heritage; film and music; outdoor recreation and sports; food, drink and “Georgia grown”; and iconic destinations. Also, she stated that Athens needs to get everyone to think on the same line—including elected officials and the music community—for marketing and branding purposes, and be more proactive.