Tourism committee discusses attracting visitors

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 15, 2003

The City of Troy's tourism committee met for the first time in over a year Thursday afternoon, getting the ball rolling on establishing a process for attracting visitors and conventions.

Organized by Shelia Jackson, Director of Tourism for the city, the meeting was largely

a collaboration between municipal government, the Pike County Chamber of Commerce and representatives of two local hotel companies.

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Topics of conversation included the need for Troy to form a Convention and Visitor's Bureau and improving the ability of Troy to host large groups of tourists at one time. The representatives of the hospitality industry, franchisees of the Holiday Inn and yet-to-be-built Hampton Inn, encouraged Jackson and Chamber of Commerce President Jenniffer Barner to promote the city at gatherings of professional associations.

"What's going to make someone stop here, as opposed to driving on through to Ozark or Dothan?" asked Benny Lindsey, who owns the Troy Holiday Inn.

Rod Peavey, Director of Operations for Holiday Inn, encouraged the creation of a CVB and cited Auburn as a model for Troy's growth and self-promotion.

The hotel representatives said that a portion of the city's share of revenue from lodging taxes should go to create an arm of the city government devoted to bringing in visitors and keeping them in town overnight.

Charlotte Gibson of the Pioneer Museum and Jim Roling of Troy Broadcasting were also present at the meeting and expressed concerns about the ability to park at several of Troy's existing convention sites.

Though many of the sites currently used for conventions and large gatherings are located on the campus of Troy State University, a representative of TSU was not present at the meeting.

Roling said it is difficult to use the TSU campus for hosting events during the school year and the lack of parking spaces makes it difficult to handle large crowds.

During the roundtable discussion, various suggestions were made concerning the successful promotion of Troy's numerous social and cultural events, with the goal being maximum occupancy of Troy's approximately 340 hotel rooms and greater revenue brought into the city.

The next meeting of the tourism committee will be June 19 at 4:00 at City Hall.