With all the recent buzz about Economic Development - nationally and locally - it's nice to focus on some specific, local examples that illustrate what those terms mean to for a state and community.
Yesterday, Jan 24, 2012 was Tourism and Hospitality Day at the Georgia Capitol and was a great opportunity to pause and appreciate the impact of Tourism on a state's economy. Here's what I learned from Georgia's Department of Economic Development and Georgia Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus...
Tourism is Georgia's 5th largest employer
Tourism generates a total economic impact of over $45 billion
Tourism supports more than 391,000 jobs. For perspective, that's about 10.4% of all Georgia's payroll employment!
$5.6 billion in state, local and federal taxes were generated by that $45 billion of spend.
The Georgia Restaurant Association states that every 1 million spent in Georgia's 16,345 eating/drinking places generates and additional 29.2 jobs in the state.
Tourism is unique in that it:
1) Is sustainable
2) Is "clean" industry
3) Clearly impacts local economies and
4) Impacts many different facets of an economy - transportation, lodging, meals, supplies, etc.
"Tourism" is a loose term that encompasses a wide range of topics from casual family trips to business conventions to international visitors to Filming and TV production. Here's why Film/TV production can be such a positive influence on Tourism and overall Economic Development...
When a film or TV is produced in a community (especially bit hits!), it can establish that community as a tourist destination for years to come. That's especially important for smaller communities. A film production can inject hundreds of thousands of dollars into a community within a few days or weeks.
With filming and TV becoming a big industry for many states (Georgia is now #3 in filming, according to industry sources) it's important to integrate Film/TV production into a community's Tourism/ Economic Development and Film/TV attraction programs and efforts.
Communities may want to consider taking a twofold approach to enhancing their Tourism/Filming attraction:
1) Identify and showcase community assets - not just the "big, pretty" things, but also the real world, gritty things that film/TV productions want - real world homes, warehouses, etc.
2) Remove obstacles to conducting business with the community. That means making easy access to community information, personnel and approval processes and streamlining the processes. Film/TV companies operate in "GO FAST" mode so communities have to be ready - 24 x 7 to support filming requests when film/TV companies need them. (Often on short notice!)
Many community representatives are happy to help get through bottlenecks but there needs to be a way to avoid making ALL requests "high level exceptions". A framework for establishing good service - from the film/TV producer perspective is critical.
Think about two restaurants, similar menu, similar prices, good food, nice locations but one has great service while the other has slow service, rude personnel and inconsistent diner experiences. Which would you choose? The good service can be the big difference to winning the business because they removed the obstacles to doing business with them.
Removing bottlenecks and obstacles should be a community priority when trying to enhance Tourism and Filming.
Potential bottlenecks to filming in communities:
1) 24 x 7 access to personnel and policies
2) Inconsistent information about policies that affect filming (parking, law enforcement, fire departments, use of streets, use of community property, etc)
3) Short timelines and disjointed approval processes
As communities look to improve their Tourism and Economic Development, Filming of movies and TV can be a valuable contribution to the community strategy. Avoiding bottlenecks, delays and other obstacles to conducting business in the community should be a priority for communities.
A "Welcoming" attitude combined with real programs can provide immediate results with long lasting benefits for a community. It's a great way to impact a multi billion dollar Tourism and Economic Development industry through improved local efforts!
Dale Sizemore is founder of FLIPSFilm, a web based service designed to enhance community filming experiences through a 24 x 7 "one stop shop". This tool is a way to create a positive filming interactions between communities and the production industry. WWW.flipsfilm.com
Good folks and a nice way to meet new contacts in the industry! Dale Sizemore
January 26th is the next Get Connected 6-11pm at The Foundry at Puritan Mill is located at 916 Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard, Atlanta, Georgia 30318. Foundry does not have ATM so please have cash for drinks,parking and entry!!
In January 2011, Get Connected brought opportunities to the film and entertainment industry to share, educate, encourage and inspire and network with one another. Starting with over one thousand attendees at its first event in Atlanta, the next eleven months saw the mixers tripling in size.
Get Connected's co-founders Autumn Bailey, Cynthia Collins and Brent Brooks personally invite Atlanta's entertainment community to join them in a Black & White Bash to thank them for their support at the famed Foundry at Puritan Mill, 916 Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard, Atlanta, Georgia 30318
Each month sees Get Connected reaching new milestones, attracting the best of the best in independent films and opening new and exciting doors for its attendees. And like every month, independent film makers will screen their short films. Hosted by the Cinema Dolls and sponsored by the Macon Film Festival, media sponsor, ProductionHub and with casting opportunities by the Jana VanDyke Agency and film pitching sessions with Jacob's Eye Entertainment, January 2012's mixer promises something for everyone who is looking to move their film, acting or directing career forward.
With a dedication to supporting charities and giving back to the community, Get Connected will donate partial proceeds from the event to the Cobb County Foster & Adoptive Parents Association. Get Connected also supports Save A Child Month - January 2012.
The Foundry at Puritan Mill
916 Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard, Atlanta, Georgia 30318.
The Foundry does not have ATM or accept credit cards – CASH ONLY
$5.00 Valet Parking
Free Food Courtesy of Zaxby's and dessert by Rayne'N Cakes
Black & White Attire is Optional
Dana Barrett interview with Dale Sizemore of FLIPSFilm about the impact of streamlined film/TV production planning in communities. Nice folks! Break a leg on the success of the Atlanta Business Radio X show.
Now filming companies have an official FLIPSFilm electrician to help obtain electrical permits (such as for generator use!) in local communities. They also do a wide range of commercial, residential and other electrical services, too.
Check them out for electrical contributions to your projects!
Dream Sanitation has joined FLIPSFilm as a provider of sanitation services and helping keep the environment clean. They provide trash, recycling and other services for the entertainment and other industries.
Check them out at https://www.flipsfilm.com/vendors
The TV show "My Ride Rules" is coming to the Atlanta Metro area in January, 2012 to film 5 episodes. Check them out - it's a fun reality show about 4 car owners who rate each other's special cars for a prize.
FLIPSFilm is helping them make filming in Georgia a good experience!
Welcome to Habersham County, Ga - our newest FLIPSFilm community who wants to encourage filming and TV production in this Northeast Georgia county. Jason Tinsley, Assistant County Manager, did a great job of representing Habersham County in the Dec 28 Bold Ventures Radio interview.
Their efforts to build on their past successful community based filming is a good example of Chambers of Commerce combining with County officials to create programs that "fill the gaps"to attract business. A good model for other communities, too!
2011 was wonderful! Launched FLIPSFilm, added customers, built the team, many new friends! Hope 2012 was even more successful... Excellent interview on Bold Ventures Radio last Wed (12/28/11). Here's the link to the 30 minute interview.