Business

2005 – The year in tourism

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By Caryn Rachke

2005 is already in high gear, with the signs of spring just around the bend, and the GCVB”s sales and marketing plans are gearing up as well. We have an aggressive agenda, with one mission: generating economic impact by bringing business travel, meetings, sports events, faith-based conventions, reunions and special events to Gwinnett County.

Whether staying at a full-service hotel or highway motel, we want to bring in overnight guests who will spend the night, dine in our restaurants, shop in our stores and then fill up their gas tanks for their return trip home.

Working closely with the Gwinnett Center, we will solicit business for Gwinnett at 25 trade shows, touting Gwinnett as a meeting or event venue. Our advertising campaign not only promotes Gwinnett Center/Arena, but markets our hotels and parks for family reunions; our sports facilities for camps and competitions and our special event facilities.

The Gwinnett Sports Commission (GSC), our sports marketing department, kicked off 2005 with a coup, announcing that the Arena was tapped as the venue for the 2006 SEC Women”s Basketball Championships. We”re creating a Sports Advisory committee to assist the GSC with marketing, sponsorship and local development and have aggressive goals that include bidding and winning at least three new national events with multi-year contracts.

We”re proud to announce that we have hired Red Pepper Marketing, a Duluth-based creative firm, as our official advertising agency. Red Pepper is charged with creating a new, creative advertising campaign for the GCVB and Gwinnett Center – one that capture Gwinnett”s essence and can be used for print, web and direct mail.

Our website (www.gcvb.org) is an invaluable resource, letting you book a hotel reservation online, find the vast amount of things to do and see in our events calendar page or decide what nearby park would be perfect for the upcoming family reunion.

While "heads in beds" and marketing of Gwinnett Center remain our primary goals, our mission this year is more community-focused. Not just because we care about where we live; but by making our community a better place to live, we also make it a better place to visit.

Whether speaking to Rotary or a downtown merchants association, our residents need to know how tourism brings big bucks into Gwinnett, keeping our tax base strong and lowering our household taxes.

The Hospitality Quarterly, the GCVB/Gwinnett Center”s quarterly newsletter, will let our residents know not only what is going on and coming up at Gwinnett Center, but about the GCVB”s free services for event planners. Our new Savings Guide is just an email (info@gcvb.org) away – and you will be on your way to savings at almost 100 Gwinnett shops, restaurants and attractions.

The Gwinnett Tourism Awareness Program (GTAP) is now entering its fifth year, offering more than 40 classes for our hospitality community, two all-day "Get to Know Gwinnett" seminars, two Gwinnett familiarization tours, hotel display boards with "Things to See and Do in Gwinnett" and ongoing seminars. Offered primarily to front-line staff, the classes make them more knowledgeable about Gwinnett, letting them serve as a "local concierge" for visitors.