Tourists spent $2.8 million in Newton last year

COVINGTON -- Tourists spent an estimated $2.78 million in Newton County in 2011, according to Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce President Hunter Hall.

That equates to $164 "the average household does not have to pay in some kind of tax because of tourism dollars that are being spent here," Hall said during his quarterly report to the Covington City Council.

The vast majority of visitors came due to filming of "The Vampire Diaries" and movies such as the remake of "Footloose," here.

"I know there are inconvenience issues, but the net return and impact on tax dollars is huge," he said, adding that the film industry is comparable to industries such as SKC or C.R. Bard. "They generate income and use very little services."

In recent months, 220 jobs have been added or announced in Newton County, through new industries Amesbury, Stamptech, and Vestar, representing a $34 million capital investment.

The number of tourists visiting Newton County increased by 47 percent in 2011, according to sources at the Newton County Convention and Visitors Center.

The number of visitors increased from 13,000 in 2010 to more than 19,000 in 2011, based on data provided by Tourism Director Clara Deemer and Assistant Tourism Director Ron Carter.

"The 47 percent increase is primarily due to the increased number of visitors for 'The Vampire Diaries,'" Deemer and Carter stated in an email response they jointly prepared. "A large number of these guests are staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants and shopping here in Covington."

Covington has been the setting for fictional Mystic Falls, Va., since 2009, and fans have trekked here from all over the globe to see stars of the show and the filming locations.

Tourists representing 46 states and 28 countries visited Covington last year, from as far away as Australia, Iceland, Russia, New Zealand and China.


Newton 3 years, 8 months ago

$2.8 million in new money and our roads are falling apart! Just imagine if we allowed sunday sales or a by the drink establishment "bars" Our BOC is opressing its citizens. I would challenge Mr. Hall to break down where this money went, when all that is here is Waffle House, Walmart, Dollar Stores.


John 3 years, 8 months ago

Newton, Don't really think that Newton County received all $2.8 million of the money projected to be spent by tourists, just a portion of the taxes collected - some does go to the state of GA.


amp72 3 years, 8 months ago

If we had decent restaurants that $2.8 million could easily be $4 or $5 million.


Newton 3 years, 8 months ago

I agree with you amp72 but the BOC seems to think otherwise. We need to force the BOC to explain why we are denied the righ to vote on Sunday Sales or liquor by the drink. It seems every time that booze is dicussed it is tabled!! This would bring in money money and JOBS!


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