September is going to be an almost $9 million month for visitor spending.
The combination of cyber network discussions, triathletes competing and a downtown international festival will generate $8.97 million in direct visitor spending this month, reported the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Augusta Sports Council.
The tourism payoff begins this week with the Georgia Department of Economic Development tourism conference at the Augusta Convention Center. Gov. Nathan Deal will attend Friday’s session, the last day of the four-day conference for 400 tourism economic development professionals.
“Augusta is excited to partner with several Augusta businesses, as well as regional partners such as Columbia County, to bring this conference to our great city,” said Barry White, the president of the visitors bureau. “We’re honored to host a conference that recognizes what a driving economic force tourism is, and having it here in Augusta helps to strengthen our own economy.”
The greatest attendance figures will come from the Greater Augusta Arts Council’s Arts in the Heart of Augusta, beginning Sept. 18. More than 77,000 people are expected to attend the international festival. Because it is a regional draw without many overnight hotel stays, the event’s economic impact is only $80,600, the bureau reported.
The largest half Ironman event in the world, however, should produce $4 million in tourism spending.
The Intermedix Ironman 70.3 Augusta, in its sixth year, has topped out its registration at 3,500 athletes. The event runs from Sept. 23-28. Adding families to the athletes, attendance is estimated at 6,000.
“Working with the Augusta Sports Council, the community, volunteers, and the great support from the city and counties the triathlon impacts, makes this one of our favorite events of the year,” said A.J. Sills, the race director. “It is obviously a favorite for the athletes because once again it has more registrations than any 70.3 we host in the world.”
Army TechNet, a weeklong Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association event, will bring 2,000 people and $2 million.
The $8.97 million in direct visitor spending for September is nearly $1 million more than was estimated for September 2013.