Chamber Provides Tourism Promotion Update

The president of the Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce talks tourism promotion with local government leaders.

Wendi Bailey appeared before both the Toccoa City Commission and the Stephens County Commission at their respective meetings this week.

Bailey talked about the Chamber’s efforts in the area of tourism promotion. The Chamber of Commerce receives hotel and motel tax monies from both the city and county to help fund those efforts.

According to Bailey, one of the main things money for tourism promotion goes towards is billboards and advertisements in magazines and other publications.

She also discussed operations of the Welcome Center in the historic train depot in downtown Toccoa.

Bailey said that the welcome center has once again achieved Level 5 status.

“It is an application process that we have to go through every, so that is good to know that we met those program guidelines to keep the Level 5 status, which is the highest status you can have,” said Bailey.

As part of maintaining that status, Bailey said that the Chamber has hired an individual to staff the welcome center on Saturdays.

As for reinstating the position of Welcome Center Director, which was cut a couple of years ago due to budgetary constraints, Bailey said that remains a goal of the Chamber, even though the money was not there to do that yet.

“We had hoped, as you know, to reinstate the Welcome Center Director position, but the funding that we requested just was not enough to do so and it also all does not come in at the front end of the year,” said Bailey. “The county’s (money) comes in a little bit each month. We absolutely want to keep that opportunity open and will continue to discuss it.”

Bailey also discussed future tourism promotion projects that the Chamber is working on.

She said one of those is an online media room to help promote Toccoa and Stephens County.

“What we do is have like a page that they could go to where all the story ideas and photographs would be,” said Bailey.

She also said the Chamber is working on video features about the county, as well as working towards potentially creating a smartphone app for Toccoa-Stephens County.