Peanut Tour had solid economic impact

Published 9:36 am Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The recently completed Georgia Peanut Tour brought a strong economic impact to Bainbridge and Decatur County, officials said Monday.

Adrienne Harrison, executive director at the Bainbridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, estimated that the event brought more than $20,000 in economic impact through lodging taxes and sales taxes.

“In general terms, large events like these have a tremendous impact on the local economy,” she said. “The visitors for this event probably filled up more than two-thirds of our hotel rooms, around 200 total.”

The Georgia Peanut Tour is a three-day event sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission, where farmers, researchers and other representatives of the peanut industry visit working farms and other locations. This year’s event was held in Bainbridge from Sept. 27-29, and featured farm visits, peanut harvest clinics, production research at the University of Georgia Attapulgus Research and Education Center, peanut handling and grading facilities and on-farm demonstrations. The tour also featured stops in Donalsonville and Blakely.

Stacy Powell, the general manager of the Holiday Inn Express and Suites, said the hotel was 100 percent full during the tour. The hotel also served as the headquarters for the Georgia Peanut Tour, hosting its seminar meetings and evening receptions, as well as registration.

“It not only helped our hotel, but they filled the surrounding hotels and supported our local restaurants and merchants as well,” she said.

Powell said Georgia Peanut Tour representatives told her there is a very good chance that Bainbridge could host next year’s tour as well.

“Obviously their board will have to vote on a location, and I know they like to usually rotate it from town to town,” she said. “But I was told that Bainbridge did a great job and it’s possible they may return again as quickly as next year.”

Diane Strickland, president of the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber also wanted to do its part to make a strong impression on the visitors. The chamber hosted a one-hour reception on Wednesday, Sept. 28.

“We wanted to have our visitors leave with a good impression of Bainbridge,” she said. “Visitors and tourists have a large impact on our economy. We are always happy to make them feel like it was worth their trip, and hopefully they’ll plan another event here in Bainbridge and Decatur County.”