Hometown Wanderlust is an adventurous, blog featuring one girl’s experiences with food, music, shopping, history, art and life in general around Dublin GA.
This week, Visit Dublin GA‘s “Bossie,” Rebecca McWilliam, describes the hometown joys that bloom every March in Dublin, GA.
Hometown Wanderlust Memories
You may have heard the saying, “The next visitor could be the next investor, the next resident, or the next business owner in your community.” When I first visited Dublin in 1998, I immediately fell in love with its architecture, its people, and its authenticity. I moved to Dublin in 2005 to be near my family and raise my children. Settling into a home on Park Place near Stubbs Park, I was delighted when March rolled around, and the St. Patrick’s Festival came to town with so many events to experience.
I had no idea that one day I would be lucky enough to work alongside the countless volunteers who organize and promote the 40 different events that make Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Festival such a vibrant economic engine in Laurens County. Every year, the Festival Committee takes two weeks off after March rolls to a close, and then sets to work planning the Festival for the next year. From advertising and safety to matching vendors to just the right event, these people behind the scenes handle all the details that make the Festival Dublin’s shining signature event. Why? It’s their love. Their love for this city, her people, and her economic health. You see it in every face, at each event, those people quietly working, directing details, and smiling widely in their emerald green blazers.
As the executive director of Visit Dublin GA, I know how blessed we are to have the St. Patrick’s Festival Committee. Not every city has such a heart for volunteerism or such a dedication to the community, and their work does more than create a good time for visitors and residents. It makes Laurens County money. According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Tourism industry in Georgia is the 5th largest employer in the state with a total economic impact of $59 billion, supporting more than 439,000 jobs, or 10.3% of all payroll employment in Georgia. Taxes of $3 billion were directly and indirectly generated by tourism in 2015. Each household in Georgia would need to be taxed an additional $843 per year to replace the tourism taxes received by state and local governments.
In 2014, Laurens County’s tourism industry:
- Supported 701 jobs
- Generated $ 77.7 million in direct travel spending
- Created $ 2.8 million in state tax revenues
- Generated $ 2.2 million in local tax revenues
This year alone in Laurens County, collections from hotel taxes are expected to double revenue collected in 2013. Hotel taxes are the taxes a visitor pays when they stay in one of our Dublin hotels. Visit Dublin GA’s extensive advertising, tourism products like the Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Park in Downtown Dublin, and the operations of the Visitor Center near 1-16 are a few of the projects funded by hotel tax. Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Festival is a huge part of Laurens County’s hotel tax collections each year. A traveler may visit Dublin in March to experience a few of the events during St. Patrick’s, staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants, and shopping our small businesses. And they return.
In 2016, Dublin’s Visitors Center welcomed over 17,000 guests. We hear countless stories at the Visitors Center of guests who came for St. Patrick’s, had a wonderful time, and now return to Dublin many times throughout the year as they travel to Atlanta, Savannah, or Hilton Head. Or there’s the Ohio, Michigan, and Florida visitors who mark their calendars and return each year for their favorite events.
So have fun at this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival! Support the growth of the Festival, participate, volunteer, and experience over 40 different events each sponsored and coordinated by local businesses, organizations, and volunteers. More than likely, you’ll see the love and you’ll feel it. You’ll laugh and have a month full of reasons Dublin is awesome. You’ll also be a part of sharing Dublin’s beauty with a visitor who just may become her newest resident and investor.
So settle that Hometown Wanderlust right here in #DublinGA when St. Patrick’s Festival comes to town February and March at http://dublinstpatricks.com.