Wednesday, August 13, 2014
This weekend, Georgetown County will welcome some 200 anglers, all hoping to pull a prize-winning catch from one of our rivers.
Many of them will be experiencing our county and all it has to offer for the first time, and many will come with families in tow.
It’s a good sign that the plan set into motion several years ago with construction of the Carroll Ashmore Campbell Marine Complex was a sound one.
It has taken some time and effort, but Georgetown County now has a foot in the door and is successfully reeling in major fishing tournaments and all the economic benefits that come with them.
The county is the proud host of tournament stops for the Inshore Fishing Association’s (IFA) Redfish and Kayak tours set for this Saturday and Sunday.
Sixty boats and about 50 kayaks are signed up to compete, and registration is still open. It’s a bigger turnout than our first tournament this year, as the Cabela’s King Kat tournament in April attracted 21 teams. The numbers will continue to grow with our next tournament, the weeklong B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional Championship, set for April 19-25.
The direct economic impact we see from each angler who signs up for these tournaments is significant. They’re staying in local hotels or securing other rental accommodations.
They’re eating in restaurants, and like most visitors, they’re shopping. Additionally, they’re fueling their vehicles and filling up their coolers for a long day on the river.
If they bring their families, the impact is multiplied.
But the benefits of being a tournament host site go well beyond that. These are high profile events with national audiences, and for the time they’re here, Georgetown County is in the spotlight.
Our natural resources are easily our biggest attraction for visitors, and with these tournaments, those are being showcased to a nationwide audience that values what we have to offer. With major national sponsorship, many of these events are broadcast into more than 100 million households in the U.S. and Canada via very respected TV programs and networks.
Becoming established as a successful tournament site generally requires a three-year commitment and dedication to selling organizations on the area, its facilities and resources.
There are a lot of communities out there competing for these tournaments, but I don’t think there’s any question that Georgetown County has what it takes to set us apart from the competition.
The IFA’s tour stops haven’t even taken place yet, but that group has already invited us to host another event next year. The Cabela’s King Kat event will also be returning in 2015.
Those of us that grew up hunting, fishing and enjoying the outdoors here in Georgetown County recognize the treasures that we have been blessed with. As we expose these treasures to the visitors that participate in these tournaments, it makes them want to come back for subsequent events, and perhaps even move here to live.
Our natural resources are our biggest assets. We love to show them off and share them with people who appreciate them the same way we do.
Complementing our natural resources with world-class facilities makes us a perfect fit for attracting these tournaments, and I am looking forward to seeing the county host many more events in the coming years.
To learn more about the upcoming IFA tour stops in Georgetown, or to register to compete, visit www.ifatours.com. There are no qualifiers to compete, but IFA membership is required and can be purchased at the IFA website during the registration process.
We hope to see you at the Campbell Marine Complex this weekend.