How Gainesville’s tourism industry brought in $2 million during the final quarter of 2022

February 2 – Gainesville continues to bring in big money from tourism.

Gainesville earned more than $2 million from tourism-driven consumer activity between October and December, according to a fourth-quarter report.

In the fourth quarter, 18 events were attended by a total of 44,420 people and 1,065 nights were booked by non-residents in hotels within the city.

At Thursday’s working session, Gainesville Tourism Director Robyn Lynch named Christmas on Green Street the busiest in attendance, with more than 12,000 attendees attending downtown festive pageantry and parades.

Sporting events, especially fishing tournaments, also contributed significantly to the tourism boom, which has been increasing steadily since 2017.

A comparison of the fourth quarter showed a steady increase in hotel/motel tax revenue over the past seven years, generating more than $500,000 in each of the last two years this quarter.

“As you can see … (sales) performed very similarly to last year, but that was a huge jump from previous years,” Lynch said. “Year to date – you can see we are on track to match or exceed last year’s numbers.”

As Gainesville continues to become a thriving tourist destination, Lynch noted that there is also an ongoing need for additional lodging for visitors.

“As I probably say every year, we have to turn people away and send people to Oakwood, Buford to stay in hotels because we don’t have the capacity for them right now,” she said. “…it’s good to see that the people who came here once see what Gainesville has to offer and will continue to come back.”

There will be relief soon. Courtyard by Marriott, a $50 million development planned in downtown Gainesville, is under construction and scheduled for completion later this year.

Lynch reported to the City Council that Lake Lanier Olympic Park had 232,000 visitors in 2022, stating, “These aren’t just (visitors) for events, it’s people coming out to see the park, the boat ramp, the beach and then of course.” all to capitalize on the special events that we have there,” Lynch said.

She cited the increase in community-sponsored events as a positive sign for the city as a whole, and reported greater private sector participation than in previous years.

“I think one of the things we’re most proud of is how many corporate and community sponsored events are happening,” she said. “For a long time…downtown has expected us to organize all events, but now they are starting to see that they can do some things themselves and we will support them. We do the promotion for them, help get people there, but it’s really their event and their expense.”

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