Macon-Bibb CVB gets support at meeting

There was standing room only Tuesday night when the Bibb County Commission designated Saturday through May 17 as Travel and Tourism Week in Bibb County.

About 20 supporters of the Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau came out to the meeting to show their appreciation for the group after it drew the ire of some City Council members who questioned the CVB’s effectiveness, management and overall governance.

“The travel industry is real critical to this local economy. It’s critical to us to have partners like this,” Terry Smith, chairman of the CVB board said as he accepted the commission’s resolution.

Smith also presented the commission with a symbolic check for $8.04 million — the amount generated in local sales tax revenue in 2007.

“How you split it between you and the city, that’s up to you to decide,” he joked with Commission Chairman Sam Hart.

Hart said the commission was not trying to get in the middle of the controversy between the CVB and City Council.

The resolution discusses the economic impact of the CVB — it contributed $268 million to the city and county in 2007 — and coincides with National Tourism Week, he said.

“We just want to recognize that,” Hart said of the CVB’s contributions. “It appears this particular year they had some real impact on the community.”

The resolution itself was drawn up prior to the city councilmen airing their concerns, he said. Resolutions from the commission are pretty routine, and the commission also Tuesday declared this week Bibb County Government Week.

To contact writer Jennifer Burk, call 744-4345.