By Caryn Rachke
It is hard to believe that the "lazy" days of summer are almost here, yet at the GCVB we are preparing to put on our running shoes. Spring and summer are our high season, and we”ll kick it off by recognizing National Tourism Week (May 9-13). This annual event is sponsored by the Travel Industry Association of America and its purpose is promote a wider understanding of travel/tourism as a major U.S. industry, as well as a substantial contributor to our economic stability, growth, culture and society.
Gwinnett”s tourism industry also packs a powerful punch – generating an economic impact of more than $1 billion dollars annually. It also helps us keep our unemployment rate, local, state and household taxes low – several great reasons to join us in celebrating National Tourism Week.
We will kick off NTW by bringing 50 meeting planners to Gwinnett Center on Monday, May 11 for a luncheon to introduce Gwinnett Center as a new meeting venue. On Friday, May 13 we will hold "Gwinnett County Day" at the Lavonia Welcome Center. Located at the Georgia/South Carolina border, the Center informs thousands of visitors daily about what to do and where to stay. We will bring several of our hotels and attractions, including Stone Mountain Park, Road Atlanta Raceway, the Southeastern Railway Museum and the new Georgia Aquarium to the Center to help our visitors plan their Atlanta stays.
We”re excited about Gwinnett”s newest arts festival, "Barefoot in the Park."
Scheduled for May 21 and 22, the festival was organized by several community groups including the GCVB, the city of Duluth, Rock Paper Scissors and Spohntown Development to celebrate Gwinnett”s arts and cultural offerings.
Presented by Gwinnett Community Bank, the juried arts festival will be held in the Duluth Town Green, and more than 65 fine art artists will offer their arts, jewelry and pottery for purchase. Children will have a blast at the Scientific-Atlanta Children”s Arts Park, where they can have hands-on art fun; activities will include Model Magic by Abrakadoodle, tie-dye; balloon artists; sand artists and storytelling.
Food and wine enthusiasts can get a sneak preview at the festival”s Friday night gala. The gala will have entertainment by the Aurora Theatre; wine tasting and delicious food by several of Gwinnett”s leading establishments, including Little Gardens, Park Café, Proof of the Pudding, Bri Jaz, Lil” River Grill and the Payne-Corley House.
Summer will also bring thousands of conventioneers and sporting enthusiasts to Gwinnett, bringing not only room nights to our hotels, but also diners to our restaurants and shoppers to our malls.
On June 3-5, the Arena will host the Salvation Army Southern Territorial Congress, an event that will generate 5,500 room nights. The Arena is quickly becoming known as a top venue for religious conventions and has, or will host conventions including the Salvation Army; Jehovah”s Witness; Georgia Baptist National Convention and Injoy Catalyst Conference.