But the CVB is essentially going it alone, after the state’s plans fell through to promote Georgia’s role in the war with a blowout sesquicentennial celebration.
“We’ve been very limited with the budget we have,” said Stefanie Paupeck, a marketing and communications specialist with the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “We’re trying to do things that would benefit all travelers, not just the history buffs.”
Among the special events offered by the CVB this year were the firings of an authentic, Rome-made brass Noble Cannon, called one of the most significant Civil War weapons to emerge from Georgia.
Approximately 70 cannons were forged during the Civil War at the Noble Foundry on the Etowah River in downtown Rome where Southeastern Mills now sits.
The Rome-Floyd Library also has been partnering with the CVB since 2011 on a Civil War Symposium series of lectures, and tours of historic Myrtle Hill Cemetery spotlight the graves of more than 400 Civil War graves.
And the locally based 8th Regiment Band has been tapped as an anchor at numerous gatherings.
Members of the 8th Regiment Band of the Georgia Volunteer Infantry, founded in 1986, perform on period instruments while dressed in full Confederate regalia. The band has performed across the United States and has been featured in dozens of national media pieces.
“Having authentic music from the 8th Regiment Band … continues our mission of educating the public about the Civil War and its impact on our community,” said CVB Executive Director Lisa Smith.
Next year is the anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta and the March to the Sea, a string of nearly daily battles all year long running diagonally across the state from Chickamauga to Savannah.
The CVB is offering on its website a free booklet titled “But the March Began in Rome: A Guide to the Civil War in Georgia’s Rome.”
Also available to borrow — at the Rome-Floyd Visitor Center on Jackson Hill — is a driving tour book with maps of the many Civil War sites of Rome and Floyd County.
Tourism is a potent economic engine because it doesn’t require the lead time of factory construction, doesn’t have spewing smokestacks and is more labor-intensive than manufacturing. As a source of foreign revenue, it is growing this year a double the rate of average U.S. exports.
“America’s economic recovery is being driven largely by the travel industry,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “Each international visitor we welcome to the U.S. helps to support local communities and small businesses across our country. This is a tremendous opportunity.”
While the state hasn’t launched a major campaign focused on the Civil War, the Economic Development Department does feature Civil War commemorations in a newsletter emailed to about 2,000 subscribers, and it is scripting driving tours.
Plans also call for an online video, welcome-center brochures, and familiarization trips for tour operators and travel writers next year, all related to the war, Paupeck said.
Greater Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau Civil War page