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Atlanta continues to lag as a tourist destination — CURT YEOMANS

Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com. 

Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com. 

Atlanta continued its string of bad showings in Travel + Leisure magazine’s annual America’s Favorite Cities rankings this year.

The city has never fared particularly well in the annual rankings of 35 American cities, but this year was especially bad for Georgia’s capital. The rankings, for the uninformed, are determined by the results of surveys filled out by Travel + Leisure readers from around the world. If a reader lives in one of the cities included in the survey, his or her votes for that particular city are counted separately from non-residents.

And, people who don’t live in Atlanta don’t like the city. It’s especially obvious when Atlanta is compared to some of the closest southern cities also included survey — Savannah and arch-rival Charlotte, N.C.

For starters, Atlanta had 46 bottom-10 finishes, and only one top-10 finish. That one top-10 finish was a number 10 ranking for barbecue. It was marred by next-to-last showings in safety and free attractions. Other areas where Atlanta ranked low included driving ability, intelligent people, cultural getaway, family vacation, romantic escape, music scene, cocktail lounges, museums and street performers.

By comparison, Savannah had 44 top-10 rankings and only two bottom-10 rankings. Those top-10 showings include number 1 rankings in several categories, including charming local accent, peace and quiet and cool buildings and architecture.

Meanwhile, Charlotte had 29 top-10 rankings and five bottom-10 rankings. It finished number one for romantic escapes and fine-dining restaurants. It also had number 2 finishes for antique stores and people who are proud of their city. But, it also ranked near the bottom of the lists for most sports-crazed city and sports bars.

It might be time for Atlanta to take a cold, hard look at itself. Tourists don’t want to come here, and the city can’t expect to bring in big tourism dollars if tourists don’t want to come here.

And, that impacts tourism in the communities that surround Atlanta because if those tourists surveyed won’t come to the big city, then they are not going to visit Jonesboro or McDonough either.

It is time for metro Atlanta to start selling itself to outsiders based on everything there is to do in the region, and not just in Atlanta. The area’s leaders also need to try selling the area to the people who live in the area because the view Atlanta area residents had of the city in this survey was hardly better than the view tourists had.

But, that can’t be expected to happen any time soon. If there is one lesson which can be taken from the T-SPLOST issue, it’s the fact that metro Atlanta leaders can’t sit down for the betterment of the region without trying to play games based on ego, posturing and one-upmanship.

It was clear, to an extent, that leaders were trying more to promote the interests of their little fiefdoms than the interests of the region.

If they can’t work together in an effective way to solve transportation issues, then they probably can’t be expected to do any better with tourism.

Curt Yeomans is the Senior Reporter for the Clayton News Daily and an avid traveler. He can be reached at 770-478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.

Comments

MD 1 year, 9 months ago

Once you have been to Six Flags, Braves, and Stone Mountain, its pretty much boring in Atlanta. There really is nothing to do here. Want to get visitors? Horse racing, dog racing, don't run everything out town like the late,great rambling raft race on the hooch, because there was a little trash left over when it was over. How about some fairs? Why let some off the wall town in south Georgia steal the state fair? Atlanta is the capitol! No, the status quo here prefer a sleepy quiet little run of the mill city, and that is exactly what they have. Boring.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 9 months ago

...I took this photo, around 1976, during the last year of our "The Great Southeastern Fair" at the Lakewood Fairgrounds. Maynard Jackson was the Mayor of Atlanta during this time. There was illegal gambling going on the game vendors, involving cash payouts, on The Midway of the Fair. This leaves no doubt why our State Fair as been held in Perry every year, since we lost our Fair.

http://www.news-daily.com/users/photos/2012/dec/14/60139/

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OscarKnight 1 year, 9 months ago

,,The Lakewood Fairground also hosted "The Atlanta 100 Stock Car Races"

....Before arriving to Clayton County, I grew up in Atlanta.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 9 months ago

.......Maybe it might be The New World Odor of Downtown Atlanta.

.....The streets of Atlanta has become nothing but a cesspool and foul odors. During the early seventies, I would transport visitors to downtown Atlanta and they would comment on the vast entertainment offered in the downtown area, and how clean the city was in comparison to other cities.

....The entertainment was flushed and the streets is now used for human waste.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 9 months ago

.....Six Flags and Stone Mountain is not located in The City of Atlanta.

http://www.news-daily.com/users/photos/2012/sep/01/52884/

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OscarKnight 1 year, 9 months ago

....This was the last event that I attended in The City of Atlanta : The Annual "Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade" Show (S.H.O.T )

......Two Weeks before this Show, Federal Lawsuits was filed against the American firearm manufacturers by The City of Atlanta. ....From listening to the Manufactures, this was The Last S.H.O.T. Show that The City of Atlanta will ever witness. This annual show is a World Wide Global Event, that only happens once every year. This Show, in 1999, brought in an estimated $55. million dollars for Atlanta.

....I enjoyed it, but, this dark cloud was hanging over the entire event. I grew tired of making excuses for The City of Atlanta.

http://www.news-daily.com/users/photos/2012/dec/14/60141/

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Robert 1 year, 9 months ago

Detroit is dead and Atlanta will follow suit for the same reasons.

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