More patrons and more money came into Augusta for the 2011 Masters Tournament. (April 11, 2011 / WRDW-TV)
News 12 This Morning at 6 o'clock / Monday, April 11, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga. --- As patrons pack up to go home, local hotels and restaurants are counting the cash generated during this year's Masters week. Compared to last year, Augusta had more visitors for this year's tournament.
As patrons pounded the pavement to make their way to the golf course, they stopped on the way to buy some food and spend some money at local businesses.
"We stopped and played golf yesterday. Spent $60 doing that. Stayed at a hotel last night, paid $150 for that," said Mike Bordone.
"Probably do a little shopping on the way in, and then just spend money on lunch and snacks throughout the day," said Kinsey Cooper.
"It is hard to find someone in Augusta that isn't touched by visitor spending during this tournament," explained Peggy Sieglar with the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau. She says since 2008 they've seen a steady increase tax revenue from hotels. This year they are projecting a 5% increase in hotel and motel taxes compared to 2010 numbers, making it the best April since 2008.
"Whether you're at a hotel, restaurant or maybe even sporting good store or grocery store, these people are in town. Sometimes for a full week. Spending money, which is good news for Augusta," Sieglar added.
But exactly how much green did patrons spend outside of the course?
"Probably $600 or $700, maybe a thousand," said Craig Linton.
"A hundred or less," said one patron.
Another patron said, "Maybe $300."
"I think this is the single most important revenue-generating event the city has," said Bill Pearson.
Sieglar says hotel occupancy was at 98% during the week. She hopes those rooms will fill up during a non-Masters week.
"We work hard to make sure people know that there is more than just the golf course, whether it's dining or places to stay," Sieglar said.
Looking back on this year's tournament, she is happy to see the numbers going up.
"We've had bad weather, we've had cold weather, power outages and still not really a bad Masters week," she said.