Augusta, Thomson getting state funds to help revive tourism

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 7:33 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Both the city of Augusta and the city of Thomson are in line to get some money from the state. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp just announcing new grants aimed at reviving tourism.

Our tourism industry took a hit last year. They held the Masters without patrons, and many attractions like the Augusta Canal boat tours had to shut down for months.

“We usually have about 18,000 visitors a year, so that was cut drastically, and also field trips were cut because of the public school system closing down field trips, so that was a loss for us as well,” said Julianna Shurtleff, development and outreach manager for the Augusta Canal.

Kemp and the General Assembly allocated $1 million to the state’s tourism division. Some of that money will go to our area.

Thomson’s Tourism Bureau has been chosen to receive $50,000 and Destination Augusta will receive close to $78,000.

In a statement, Destination Augusta says in part, “We are grateful to Governor Kemp, the Georgia General Assembly, and Explore Georgia for this funding that will aid in getting visitors back to Augusta.”

They went on to say that they will spend the money on a marketing campaign in nearby cities. This comes as restrictions relax, and attractions start to see more business.

“It’s just continued to pick up because folks are really wanting to get out and do stuff now that rules and regulations are laxing a little bit and vaccinations are available,” said Shurtleff.

Shurtleff expects interest to keep picking up through the end of the year.

“People are interested ... they’re calling up, wanting to reserve spots, and I think in the fall we’re really hoping for things to be back to normal with our music cruises and regular tours,” she said.

Interest picking up as we get closer to normal.

We also reached out to Thomson’s Tourism Bureau to find out how they plan to spend their grant money. We’re still waiting to hear back.

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