TSC Chamber of Commerce, Welcome Center receives $6,900 in grant funds

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR

Stephens County’s Chamber of Commerce and Welcome Center is receiving a grant from the State to go towards tourism recovery efforts.

Last week, Governor Brian Kemp in partnership with Explore Georgia, the state tourism office within the Georgia Department of Economic Development, announced the recipients of a special round of Tourism Recovery Marketing Grants.

The Explore Georgia Tourism Recovery Marketing Grant program supports marketing efforts to bolster the recovery of Georgia’s tourism industry from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Kemp says, “A prospering tourism industry creates hundreds of thousands of jobs and positively impacts the health and vitality of our state’s economy. I’m proud to support our hardworking tourism organizations across the state through this recovery funding…The tourism and hospitality community needs our support more than ever, and this funding will provide the immediate marketing assistance they need to make sure that Georgia is on the minds of eager travelers.”

Thirty-four destination marketing organizations in 27 counties will receive a combined total of nearly $1.5 million in recovery marketing funding as part of this one-time grant program.

The grant applications and decisions were based on how much tourism a county or tourism marketing organization lost in tourism revenue during the pandemic.

The Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce & Welcome Center applied for and will receive $6,900.

In their application, according to the grant program, Toccoa-Stephens County lost about 10% in tourism revenue during the pandemic last year.

Governor Kemp and the Georgia General Assembly approved $1 million in the amended FY21 state budget for tourism recovery.

Because of the substantial number of grant applications – from 58 organizations totaling nearly $2.5 million in funding requests – Explore Georgia contributed an additional $1 million from the state tourism marketing budget to fund as many grants as possible.

The Explore Georgia Tourism Recovery Marketing program also includes $500,000 in co-op matching funds, for a total of $2 million in recovery support.