Golden Isles Tourism Bureau Aims for Funding Increase

golden islesThe Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau might see a funding increase for the first time since 1998. If approved by the Glyn County council, the 15% increase in the $2 million budget this year will give the city an extra $200,000.

That’s not much when compared to the spending power of competitors. St. Augustine has a $3.2 million budget and Charleston has $11 million. The increase won’t be enough to develop a full-force winter marketing strategy, but it is a step toward returning the bureau and county to a 50-50 split of accommodations taxes, which are levied on lodging.

Glynn County shared as much as 75 percent with the Convention and Visitors Bureau when the bed tax was first created in 1976. Last year, the bureau’s cut was down to 48 percent.

“That was 22 years of a good, healthy split. After 1998, that split has done nothing but decrease,” executive director Scott McQuade said.

The decrease came about when the county began using accommodations taxes for costs like fireworks, streetlights and libraries. Keeping visitors coming to the Golden Isles isn’t an easy job, and McQuade hopes to tap into markets he hasn’t been able to reach. The county commission will hold a public hearing on its budget at its next scheduled meeting on June 6, 6 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse.