Tourism has been good for the City of Forsyth and Monroe County. Tourism creates jobs, both through direct employment and indirectly in sectors such as retail and transportation. When these people spend their wages on goods and services, it leads to what is known as the “multiplier effect,” creating more jobs. The tourism industry also provides opportunities for small businesses, which is especially important in rural communities, and generates extra tax revenues, such as hotel taxes, which are used for schools, housing and hospitals.

The City of Forsyth collected hotel-motel taxes from 14 hotels last year. 20 percent of the hotel-motel tax goes to the City’s general fund, 40 percent to Forsyth Main Street, and the remaining 40 percent to Forsyth’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.

According the Georgia Department of Economic Development, in 2014 the City of Forsyth – Monroe County’s tourism industry: Supported 281 jobs. Generated $30 million in direct travel spending. Created $1.1 million in state tax revenues. Generated $820,000 in local tax revenues

Each Monroe County household received $178 in tax relief per household, as a result of the taxes generated by direct travel spending.

The improvements to infrastructure and the creation of new leisure amenities resulting from tourism, also benefit the local community. Tourism encourages the preservation of traditional customs, handicrafts and festivals that might otherwise have been lost, creates civic pride, and greater cultural understanding.

Tourism -- particularly nature and ecotourism -- helps promote conservation of wildlife and natural resources such as wildlife management areas and state parks. It also helps generate funding for maintaining these through entrance charges and guide fees.

Tracy Allgood is the assistant for Forsyth Main Street.