Experiencing Valdosta Thru the Valdosta Tourism Authority

Barbara Kieker

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Residents may think they know all there is to do in and around Valdosta but the Valdosta Tourism Authority, or visitvaldosta.org, says there is much more.

"We have so much to offer right here in Valdosta and Lowndes County. We want to encourage local residents and visitors to try something new and look within our county for fun activities," said Tyra Howard, director of tourism at the Valdosta Tourism Authority.

In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, tourism in Lowndes County generated $222.67 million in direct tourist spending, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. It also generated 2,440 jobs, $8.74 million in state tax revenues and $6.65 million in local tax revenues. On an average day in Lowndes County, tourists spent $610,054 on tourism-related expenses.

According to Howard, the tourism authority is using more advertising and email outreach to get the word out about attractions in and around Valdosta. Howard publishes an e-newsletter on local activities that reaches event planners, tourism professionals and others across the region. She also works locally to spread the word.

"We'll share information on upcoming activities with hoteliers in the area and encourage them to share it with their guests. It can make people stay another night," Howard said.

Among the upcoming activities is the Dizzy Dean Baseball/Softball Tournament that will bring up to 50 teams and family members to hotels, restaurants and other businesses in Valdosta in July. Dizzy Dean Baseball, Inc. is a nonprofit youth baseball/softball organization whose mission is to provide a recreation outlet for as many youths as possible regardless of sex, religion, race or color.

Howard encourages business leaders to get involved with one or more of the many attractions Valdosta has to offer through sponsorships, volunteering or simply attending as a visitor.

"We also encourage businesses to share information with their clients about what the area has to offer. It can boost business for everyone," Howard said.

Howard offers these suggestions to get visitors and residents out and about in the area:

  • Get festive at one of the many local festivals. Check the Metro Guide for a complete list.
  • Attend the Moody AFB Air Show.
  • Sample and learn about local wines at a wine tasting sponsored by a local winery or related organizer.
  • Visit a local museum and learn more about Valdosta and the surrounding area.
  • Take a guided hunting tour.
  • Start your engine at the South Georgia Motorsports Park.
  • Attend a Valdosta State University game. Be sure to wear red and black.
  • Mentor a child or train to be a child advocate.

More information on things to do in and around Valdosta is available at www.visitvaldosta.org.

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.