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Visitors bureau receives $13,580 grant

The Thomson-McDuffie County Convention and Visitors Bureau recently received good news in the form of $13,580. The local CVB was one of 41 organizations to receive marketing grants from the Georgia Department of Economic Development's Tourism Division.

A press release last week revealed the total amount of $500,000 awarded was half of last year's available cooperative grant funds. There were 82 applications for this year's funds.

"I got exactly what I applied for, and that's very good. We're really fortunate that we got it at all, much less that we got exactly what we asked for," said Thomson-McDuffie CVB Director Elizabeth Vance.

This is Thomson-McDuffie County's third year to receive the co-operative tourism marketing grant funds, which are used to reach a larger audience with positive impact that will attract visitors. Ms. Vance said the money will go toward a tour group planner, event guide and area map, rack cards and a Thomson City Cemetery tour brochure. The money also will be used to fund advertising in magazines, Sunday newspaper inserts, travel planners and tourism guides. The expenses of these projects are estimated to be $27,160.

"This year, the new, big thing is the group tour planner, to try to entice motor coach groups to stay here," Ms. Vance said.

At a previous CVB meeting, Best Western White Column's Manager Christy Muns said motor coach groups express interest in staying at the motel, but ask what activities are available for the members to do in the evenings while they are there.

So, Ms. Vance and others on the CVB came up with a list of suggestions along with maps.

Last year's grant funds were spent on a visitor's guide and establishing the new website, The previous year's money enabled Ms. Vance to create "a lot of rack cards" that she distributed to visitor's centers and welcome centers around the state.

"Rack cards were the first thing I started doing, because I could do those cheap," she said.

Web posted on Thursday, November 12, 2009

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