Sunday September 24th, 2017 6:30AM

Gainesville sees steady increase in tourism spending

GAINESVILLE - Thanks to well-targeted advertising, among other things, more tourism dollars are pouring into Gainesville.

That was the word this past week from Gainesville Communications and Tourism Director Catiel Felts. She told Gainesville City Council members at Thursday's work session that hotel-motel tax dollars have steadily increased over the past several years, peaking with a record-setting month in November 2013.

"The month of November, as far as we know, is the highest number that has ever, ever been reported," said Felts.

According to dollars figures distributed at the work session, the revenue collection amount for that month was $73,781.52. That figured surpassed November 2012's collections by more than $10,000 - and that month was the previous record breaker.

Felts says the trend continues into this new year.

"Every single month for FY '14 is up over previous years," noted Felts.

She said her department has made efforts to use advertising outside the area to specifically target tourists, and that she believes, has lead to an increase in overnight hotel stays in Gainesville.

Among the media used to advertise Gainesville amenities and attractions: Southern Living Magazine, Garden and Gun Magazine and Georgia Public Broadcasting. The city also uses Facebook and other social media for advertising.

Felts said in addition to paid advertising, free publicity has been a boost to the area. She pointed to entities that have recognized Gainesville as a premium location to retire, for example.
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