Opinion

June 30, 2014

A welcoming attitude

The world, or at least that part of it that helps groups plan their conventions, learned something that people in northwest Georgia have known for a long time: Dalton is a friendly, welcoming city.

Dalton is one of 16 cities recently named by Convention South magazine as its “Southern Hospitality Cities 2014,” which the magazine defines as places where convention groups can find “quintessential Southern charm.”

Brett Huske, executive director of the Dalton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), says that designation could have a big impact on the city.

“Convention South is one of the major publications for the Southeast region meetings business,” Huske said. “For the last year plus (since Huske also took over as director of the trade center) we have a renewed focus on the meetings market for groups outside Dalton and even outside Georgia. We want to attract groups that will stay in our hotels. That, in turn, generates business for our restaurants and shops.”

Starting about six years ago, the city started making a major push to make itself more attractive to visitors, from creating hiking and bicycling trails on Mount Rachel to improving its recreational facilities. Whitfield County has also joined in the effort, working with private groups to acquire sites with historic Civil War ties and turn them into parks and other tourist attractions.

These moves not only can help bring in visitors, they improve the quality of life for those who live in Dalton and Whitfield County.

These efforts, along with the marketing programs of the trade center and the CVB, seem to be paying off, with the Convention South list proof that those in the travel and tourism industry are taking notice of Dalton.

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