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Your Views: Roads sales tax would boost tourism in area
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On behalf of the local and regional tourism industry, I am writing in support of the upcoming T-SPLOST referendum to improve our roadways.

The revenue from a one-penny transportation sales tax would not only improve our area roads but also would increase access to Hall County tourist destinations ranging from Lake Lanier Islands and Road Atlanta to downtown Gainesville and the future Smithgall Woodland Garden. In turn, this would generate more business for our restaurants, hotels and numerous other facets of our local tourism industry.

T-SPLOST is a regional sales tax that collects and spends all dollars throughout the 13 counties of the Northeast Georgia mountains area, including 25 percent that would go directly to local counties and municipalities. We all benefit from this regional approach.

So why is T-SPLOST and its positive impact on tourism so important? Statewide, Georgia’s tourism is one of our largest industries with an annual impact of $45 billion in total investment, $13.7 billion in wages and $5.6 billion in tax revenue.

Locally, Hall County benefits from tourism by netting $208 million in expenditures by travelers, $46.19 million in wages paid to 2,250 local workers and $6.11 million in local tax revenue.

Tourism also would help pay for the T-SPLOST. It is projected that close to one-third of the sales tax would be paid by visitors from outside of Hall County.

Let’s do ourselves a favor. Please join me in support of local tourism by voting “yes” this summer in support of T-SPLOST.

Stacey Dickson
President, Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau, Gainesville