The state of tourism in White County discussed

Jay Markwalter, Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau addresses chamber members in White County. (

The state of tourism was discussed Tuesday as the White County Chamber of Commerce held the first of five vision information meetings.

Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus Jay Markwalter was the featured speaker. He shared with the group at the Mountain Education Charter School Office on the Helen Highway that White County is doing well in attracting tourism dollars to the area.

Markwalter provided information on the total dollars that visitors spend in the county, along with the jobs the visitor dollars help provide.

He said visitors generate the equivalent of $1,529 in tax savings for every household.

“Every car tag you see from outside of the area is pure economic development, cash they are leaving behind if it’s five dollars, it’s five dollars, but it is from outside the community. There is no cleaner industry,” he said.

According to Markwalter, not only should the Chamber work hard to promote the county, but work with the surrounding counties to attract visitors and encourage them to stay longer.

Shown, left to right, are Cleveland Economic Development Director Tom O’Bryant, White Couty Commissioner Terry Goodger, Jay Markwalter, White County Chamber President Beth Truelove, Alpine Helen/White County Convention and Visitors Bureau Jerry Brown, White County Economic Development Director John Sell. (

“Jump at every opportunity to represent and tell your story,” he said.

The White County Chamber Vision Series updates the progress of the Chamber’s Vision 2030 – a set of big ideas defined by the businesses and stakeholders of White County and the North Georgia mountains.

Presented by Habersham Electric Membership Corporation, the chamber has four other series that will include a discussion on healthcare, housing, technology, and the workforce.

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