Special events such as sporting events, conventions, and even the Summer Olympics can bring lots of money into the state and the host community. Spurgeon Richardson, president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, lists ways people spend money at a special event. In addition to buying a ticket for the event, they need a place to sleep, and places to eat and shop. Atlanta is a very attractive town for conventions starting with the Atlanta airport that brings people into the city from around the world. Atlanta also boasts hotel rooms in large numbers and in all price ranges. Sporting events and teams generate revenue. For example, the Atlanta Motor Speedway brings in $450 million annually, the Braves bring in $203 million annually, and the Falcons $93 million. Around Georgia, visitors can attend festivals celebrating local customs and products. From the Rose Festival (Thomasville) to the Vidalia Onion Festival, to the Antebellum Jubilee (Stone Mountain), and the Stock Show and Rodeo (Perry), there is something for every taste. In Dublin, Georgia, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with a parade and activities that draw visitors from around the nation. The celebration results in money for the local economy, and in turn Dublin residents use it as an opportunity to raise money for charities. In one year, 40 million visitors come to Georgia with money to spend making tourism a major business in the state.
Teacher tip: Assign small groups of students a special event in the community or in a nearby community to research. Ask them to call or email the Chamber of Commerce or Convention and Visitors Bureau in that community and collect information about the event including income and expenses and report to the class.