Multi-Million Dollar Impact of Regional Events a ‘Great Reflection’ of Community
The back-to-school grind won’t be the only reason Augusta has a little extra buzz this month.
Various events in the Augusta area in August, all of which have been managed or guided by the Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau or the Augusta Sports Council, are expected to attract more than 15,000 people and generate around $10.5 million in estimated economic impact (EEI) from visitors, according to the bureau and council.
The EEI calculation was based on research commissioned by the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Destination Marketing Association International, the U.S. Travel Association and Tourism Economics.
The USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association) Military World’s Softball Tournament (Aug. 10-13), for instance, is expected to have an attendance of several thousand and bring with it $3.4 million EEI.
“I think we do really well with these events in August in Augusta,” says Barry White, president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We’re on track to match what we did last year.”
The economic boost that these events have given the area over the last few years has consistently increased. The annual TechNet conference (Aug. 7-11), an event that brings together military and cyber professionals to discuss cyber warfare operations, has taken place in Augusta the last few years. It generated about $750,000 in 2013. This year, the conference is projected to generate nearly $2.8 million.
The number of attendees has also grown considerably in recent years. Around 1,000 people attended the event in 2013; White says planners are expecting 3,300 people at the event this month.
“TechNet is directly related to the growth of cyber at Fort Gordon,” White says.
But events like TechNet and the USSSA Softball Tournament have done more than pump dollars into the local economy. White says they’re a reflection of the community.
White offers Fort Gordon’s Youth Challenge Academy as a prime example. YCA, which is holding a ring ceremony and graduation (Aug. 4-5 and 19-20, respectively) this month, admits “at-risk” youth who have struggled to complete high school. The academy admits these young people in order to train and develop them with a military-structured education, aiming to send off graduates with valuable qualities and skills that they can use in the professional world.
White says YCA is an example of the economic impact that Fort Gordon and its facilities have on the local community. White has also been impressed by the local response.
“None of the events like this would take place without the local community,” White says. “It’s a great reflection on the community and volunteer spirit, and the hospitality we’re so proud of here.”
Also on the bureau’s schedule for August are the Aiken Soccer Cup (Aug. 25-27), the United States Tennis Association’s Georgia Mixed Doubles Championships (Aug. 11-14), the annual meeting of the Voter Registrars Association of Georgia (Aug. 13-16) and the McKie-Butler-Johnson family reunion (Aug. 4-6).
“We’re fortunate to have such a strong showing,” White says.