Thanks to grants from the Watson-Brown Foundation Junior Board of Trustees, the Thomson-McDuffie Convention and Visitors Bureau is stepping out on some new paths. Last week, the junior board presented two grants to the CVB. The first, for $8,900, will be used to implement history-based cell phone tours. The second, for $5,000, is designated to establish a Historic District around the Rock House.
"We are just trying to tap into a different market and generate a little more interest," said Elizabeth Vance, the McDuffie County tourism director. "There's a lot of history here that's not in any kind of form that tourists can use."
A cell phone tour is a recording that tourists can access by dialing a certain telephone number. An intern will do research and write the script for the tours, and the tourism board will seek the help of local talent for the voices. Ms. Vance said the tour will be available any time when needed.
"Right now, someone can walk in (the CVB) and we can say 'go over to the Rock House,' but when they do, they just see an empty house," she said. "But with the cell phone tour guiding them, they can learn a little more and enjoy it."
The board will use the funds to create three different tours: the African-American Heritage Tour, the Quaker Tour and the Environmental History Tour.
The junior board made the grant presentations on Wednesday, May 28. The WBF Junior Board consists of high school students who award $25,000 in grants annually to worthy projects and organizations in the Central Savannah River Area of Georgia and South Carolina.