Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

December 16, 2019 - Explore Georgia, the state tourism office within the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), recently announced the recipients of the new Regional Visitor Information Center (RVIC) Grant Program. Eight entities from across the state received more than $14,000 in financial assistance for visitor marketing.

“Funding is an essential part of effectively marketing to potential visitors and with this new grant we are proudly able to assist our local partners with this much needed resource,” said Lisa Love, Interim Deputy Commissioner for Explore Georgia. “This is an important opportunity to help grow tourism at the local level, enhance economic development and raise awareness about their offerings in order to bring new and repeat visitors.”

Explore Georgia’s RVIC Grant Program is a matching grant of up to $2,000 each to currently designated RVICs to support marketing and promotional efforts.

Recipients of the 2020 RVIC Grant include:

  • Douglasville CVB for the development of printed materials including a downtown map, calendar of events for 2020, and other visitor info.
  • St. Marys Welcome Center for the St. Marys and Cumberland Island map and brochure.
  • Rome CVB for a billboard to promote their Art Market events.
  • Tybee Island for a driving tour video to promote Tybee Island attractions and educate visitors about marsh ecosystems.
  • Marietta Welcome Center for a marketing rebrand, including a new visitors guide, banner displays, giveaways, and more.
  • City of Forsyth CVB for a Geo Quest development, rack cards, award decal, commemorative coin and prize packets.
  • Savannah Visitors Information Center for video marketing.
  • Villa Rica Welcome Center for Gold Rush pole banners.

Grant recipients were selected based on proposed performance metrics, how well the proposal enhances the RVIC’s on-site capacity to promote their community, region and state, and whether or not the applicant meets the 100 percent match requirements. Applications for the second round of funding are due Jan. 31, 2020.

Explore Georgia manages and operates nine DOT-owned Visitor Information Centers along major interstates statewide and owns and operates two separate Visitor Information Centers in Sylvania and Plains. In addition, Explore Georgia oversees a training and resources program to serve locally owned visitor and welcome centers across the state, the Regional Visitor Information Center (RVIC) program. Under this program, Explore Georgia gives local visitor centers the opportunity to earn the annual RVIC designation by meeting specific hours and accessibility criteria while participating in Explore Georgia product training and branding.

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