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Mayor wants more during Masters Week

The 2011 Masters Tournament was still very much on Thomson Mayor Kenneth Usry's mind last week.

"I'm back to sing your praises," he told members of the Thomson-McDuffie County Convention & Visitors Bureau's board.

But he also told them "I'd like to see us do a better job."

Thomson motels were full during Masters Week, and a large number of corporate jets were parked at the city's airport. But Usry believes the city and McDuffie County can benefit more from the tournament.

"We've got a hell of a potential to take a lot of money out of people's pockets," he said.

The mayor said he was disappointed in the inappropriate attire of some people who came to the airport and the Best Western White Columns Inn welcome center to greet visitors and promote their businesses. He noted that men who come for the Masters usually bring their wives with them.

Elizabeth Vance, the executive director of the bureau, said she passed out between 1,000 and 1,250 badge holders to Masters visitors.

Each badge holder contained a tag that visitors could scan to view a two-minute video on Thomson and McDuffie County.

Vance said the video, which she showed again at the board meeting, attracted 3,227 page views.

Usry and Vance said most of the out-of-town visitors they talked with had a favorable impression of Thomson.

Usry said he talked with a doctor from New York who said, "I'll be back to Thomson because of the hospitality."

Board members generally agreed that Masters Week should be used to promote other events in the area, including the Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival and the Belle Meade fox hunt.

They also agreed that more communication and involvement in tourism efforts are needed from restaurants and other businesses that stand to benefit from the Masters.

Kelly Evans, the board's chairman, recommended that a committee be formed to plan for the tournament week next year.

Web posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

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