Candler County leaders working to attract more tourist

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METTER, Ga. (WSAV) – Candler County leaders are looking to increase tourism to the area, and they’re bringing in a special team to do it.

In 2018 the economic impact of tourism in Candler County was 16 million dollars. Now county and city leaders want to increase that number.

To do so, they applied to a program for members on the Georgia Tourism Product Development team to visit the area and get their input on what to improve.

“They’re looking at Candler County and Metter with fresh eyes to see new things we can promote….And show us what we can do to promote it throughout the state and internationally,” Heidi Jeffers, Director of Tourism and Business Development for Metter said.

The visitors included representatives from several agencies including Georgia’s Tourism, Council for the Arts, Film Office, Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Agriculture.

During the representative’s visit, they toured areas such as Metter’s downtown, museums, and an old African American church and gravesite.

“The African American traveler is on the rise in Georgia and so one of our pillars at the state is that we want to make sure that when we’re working with the local community, the rural communities, it’s to says hey the African American story needs to be told. Historic churches need to be visited,” Cindy Eidson, Director of Tourism Product Development with Georgia Department of Economic Development, said.

Once the tours are done the team will take their notes they took while on the tours and give them to the city of Metter in a final report.
Eidson said one thing the area could improve on is appealing to the younger generation.

“Something that we have not seen is a brewery. A lot of communities are looking to do that and we’re hoping that Metter would focus on that,” Eidson said. “The Millennials want to be able to have a coffee shop, they want a brewery, and they want to be able to have walkability.”

The report with the team’s full findings and suggestions will be presented to the city in October and it will also include grant options to help to fund the changes.

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