Local businesses looking forward to Georgia Governor's Tourism Conference

News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014


AUGUSTA, Ga (WRDW) -- The holiday weekend is over and that means the busy season is just beginning for a lot of local businesses.

This week the Georgia Governor's Tourism Conference is coming to Augusta. The annual event promotes tourism in one Georgia city and this year it's Augusta's turn.

Chuck Baldwin has owned the French Market Grille at Surrey Center for more than thirty years. He says Labor Day is always tough for business.

"Well in our case any more business this week is good because this is our slowest week of the year," Baldwin said.

Although a lot of people travel through Augusta, he says it seems like most folks don't stick around.

"People get out of town in Augusta, go to the mountains, go to the beach, so it tends to be soft as we say in the business," he said.

Now, he's hoping things will turn around. The Georgia Governor's Tourism Conference is setting up shop for the next three days, teaching businesses how to attract more tourists. This is an opportunity Baldwin and many others can't pass up.

"We're just so thankful to have it. Anything this time of year is just a God send for us," he told News 12.

Darby Carpenter with Farmhaus and Craft and Vine is hoping to draw more tourists downtown.

"We hope it translates into more business and for people who aren't in Augusta proper to say, 'Hey there is a lot of cool stuff going on,'" he said.

He sees this is a chance to get travelers off the highway and onto Broad Street.

"I don't think it will change someone's vacation, but maybe it could add a stop like they would see there's a lot on that road they're heading," Carpenter said.

An opportunity to change Augusta from a stop along the way, into someone's next destination. The conference will start Wednesday and it goes through Friday at the Augusta Convention Center. More than five hundred tourism professionals will be here. If you want to be part of it, you can register on their website.

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