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Benefits of local tourism touted

Members of the Thomson-McDuffie Convention & Visitors Board got acquainted and reviewed the agency's mission at their meeting Thursday.

"Our mission is to spend this hotel-motel tax dollar in a way that advances tourism from people who live outside of McDuffie -- and that's a key point," said board chairwoman Kelly Evans.

Evans, the executive director of the Thomson Housing Authority, said the economic impact of tourism advertising is "more than just a welcoming mat."

"We create jobs by doing this," she said.

The board received a report showing that McDuffie County tourism generated 220 jobs in 2009. The $22.39 million in direct tourist spending produced a $4.11 million payroll, created $830,000 in state tax revenue and generated $690,000 in local tax revenue.

Five members joined the board Thursday after being appointed by county commissioners. They are: Brenda Bettross, who is employed at Mistletoe State Park; Jason Smith of Lewis Smith, CPA; Prakash Aildasani of Econo Lodge; Debbie Jones, a past board member; and Epp Wilson, a former board member active with the Belle Meade Hunt and Foxboro Farms.

Also present were board members Jarvis McNair, Michelle Zupan, Nancy Trivett and Martha Teemer; ex-officio board member Mike Carrington of Forward McDuffie; and Tourism Director Elizabeth Vance.

The board voted not to seek a replacement immediately for board member David Moore, who resigned.

The agency is funded by a 5 percent tax on lodging. Mrs. Evans said the county gives the agency more than the 40 percent required by law. In 2010, the tax drew $175,223.

The 2009 total was $176,372.

Web posted on Thursday, February 03, 2011

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