Even more positive are figures from the Greater Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau for 2012 showing that the pull of major events held locally (and we’re not talking about The Forum) are really starting to zoom.
Particularly notable is that the first-ever Wings Over North Georgia Air Show at Richard B. Russell Regional Airport had a tourism impact of $2.8 million on a single weekend. That’s not only close to double the impact of the previous main magnet — six regional weekend tennis tournaments that pulled $1.6 million in tourism dollars — but the air show already plans a return this year with bigger and better attractions.
This is further evidence that if those not living here are given a reason, then they will come to Greater Rome. Nor are the total dollars involved inconsiderable. According to a U.S. Travel Association study, tourism expenditures locally in 2002 were $82,900,000, and by 2011 had risen to $113,920,000. All without the air show, some of those years without the NAIA football championship game, some of it without the upsurge of local college football.