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Officials: Office name change could boost tourism in Gainesville

POSTED: February 19, 2014 12:34 a.m.

Gainesville officials are hoping a name change to the tourism and trade office will boost economic development and help attract more visitors and conventions.

City Council approved a request Tuesday directing the state delegation from Hall County to pursue legislation in the General Assembly that would authorize the birth of the Gainesville Convention and Visitors Bureau Authority.

“I think one of the good things about having the CVB designation is that it is known internationally,” said Gainesville spokeswoman Catiel Felts.

The CVB’s predecessor, known as Gainesville Tourism and Trade, was established in fiscal year 2010 within the city’s communications and tourism office.

Though a formality, the name change is expected to have big benefits for the city, which already has seen its hotel/motel tax revenue increase every month this fiscal year over last.

Officials said they hoped the change would help promote the downtown and midtown areas of the city, as well as advertise Gainesville as a welcome destination for trade shows, conventions and special events.

If passed by the legislature, the CVB would be governed by a seven-member board of directors made up of the city manager, director of the parks and recreation department, two representatives from local hotels and motels, two members from local attraction businesses and one member from the local restaurant industry.

The board would be mandated to meet at least twice annually and report to the City Council. The board also will appoint an executive director and hire more people as necessary. The CVB will have the authority to purchase or lease property to carry out its functions.

The CVB’s budget is expected to be folded into the budget of the existing communications and tourism office, which must be approved annually by City Council.

“Everyone knows exactly what (CVBs) do,” Felts said. “Sometimes with the Gainesville Tourism and Trade, it’s harder to explain what we do.”


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