GDEcD TPDRT Presents Music Tourism Report, includes Support for Classic Center Arena
Wednesday, June 13th, 2018
The Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted the Georgia Department of Economic Development Tourism Product Development Resource Team at the Hyatt Place on Thursday, June 7, at 6:00 p.m. to present findings and recommendations. Tourism partners attended the presentation to hear the team’s report that provided guidance for future tourism product development in Athens.
Through consultation with GDEcD, the TPDRT visited Athens in November 2017, focusing on music, one of Athens’ most distinguishing features. The resource team met with key Athens tourism stakeholders – including venue managers, talent buyers, the Downtown Development Authority, Athens-Clarke County Economic Development, Athensmade, hoteliers, festival planners, representatives from the University of Georgia and ACC Mayor & Commission – to hear thoughts on the current state of Athens as a music destination and what could be done to enhance it in the future.
Key takeaways from the Music Tourism Report are to mobilize, create a master plan and ensure economic growth through investment, establish a singular brand to connect and market the music and tourism industries, creatively interpret Athens’ music heritage and music industry citywide and shape the future by growing business, incubating talent and embracing diversity. Each takeaway has many action items and recommendations, based on successful models in other cities and research. Many of the recommendations are items that are already included in the Envision Athens comprehensive plan. Envision Athens Project Manager, Erin Barger, applauded the findings and saw that the report is in sync with Envision Athens goals.
The Music Tourism Report supports a proposed 7,000 seat arena addition to The Classic Center to offer a larger venue that yields a $40 million per year impact and attracts bigger name artists and a mix of family, community, sports, faith-based events and conventions. Recommended keys to enhancing revenue include robust concert schedules, an ability to sell luxury boxes and major sell out concerts.
Athens CVB Director Chuck Jones stated, “The resource team’s recommendations were well received, and we, as a community, are looking forward to implementing their suggestions that will make our city an even more attractive destination for visitors and generate more visitor spending.”
GDEcD offers grant funding to communities that participate in the department’s Tourism Product Development Resource Team Program as a way to build product outlined in the resource team’s reports. The TPDRTP works to evaluate a community’s potential for tourism growth and development through innovative and unique experiences based on a community’s local culture and heritage. The recommendations and financial support provided through this funding program are designed to spur tourism development activities at the local level that maintain and create jobs, attract tourists and enhance the visitor experience.