Local News

January 23, 2014

Trade center, CVB show improved numbers in 2013

Local hotel and motel taxes reached yet another high in 2013, while the trade center cut its operating loss by some $180,000, according to Dalton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) Executive Director Brett Huske.

Huske said the city of Dalton and Whitfield County collected a total of $1.404 million in hotel and motel taxes in 2013, up from $1.326 million in 2012.

“That marks the fourth straight year we have set a new record,” Huske said.

Huske said local officials efforts to market the area and develop its tourism industry are paying off.

“It shows not just in the hotel/motel tax collections but in the numbers at the visitors center up in Tunnel Hill,” he said. “In 2012, we had 6,575 visitors out there, which was our biggest year (to date). Then last year, we had 7,302.”

Huske said the Civil War sesquicentennial, which ends next year, has helped bring tourists to Dalton.

“In August, we partnered with Prater’s Mill to open that as a visitors center. That’s open Thursday through Saturday,” he said. “Like any attraction, it opened slow. But we have a lot of things we are going to do out there, and as we continue to advertise it and promote it we expect it to grow.”

And Huske said that meetings and sports events continue to bring in visitors.

Huske also serves as the director of the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center, and he said the facility slashed its operating deficit last year to $580,000 from $761,000 in 2012 and $977,000 in 2011.

2013 was the first time in three years that the trade center was under local management. It had for several years been managed by Global Spectrum, a firm that manages trade centers and other facilities across the nation.

“One of the biggest things in 2013 was the relationship with Dalton State College and Dalton State sports,” Huske said.

DSC’s Roadrunners basketball team plays its home games at the trade center.

“As the college continues to grow, we hope to strengthen that relationship,” Huske said.

The trade center’s operating deficit is equally funded by Whitfield County and the city of Dalton.

“Our goal is to get the trade center near to break even,” Huske said. “I don’t know of any other (trade center) that breaks even or makes money. But I think it’s definitely possible we can get close to that.”

Dalton City Council member Gary Crews, who also sits on the trade center board, said the facility’s improving finances result from a number of strong partnerships.

“The CVB and the trade center are obviously working well together, and Brett and his staff deserve a lot of credit,” Crews said. “The partnership we have with Dalton State College has been successful, and we think that’s only going to grow.”

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