JONESBORO The Clayton County Board of Commissioners approved a request this week to spend $6,840 in hotel and motel tax funds on a booth at the upcoming International Air Cargo Forum in Atlanta.
With the approval, the county’s economic development office now has permission to have a 9-square meter display, promoting the county, at the forum. The cargo convention will be held Sept. 30 until Oct. 3, at the Georgia World Congress Center. A commission resolution to approve the funding states the booth will be at an exhibition held Oct. 2 until Oct. 4, as part of the forum.
“At this event, [economic development] employees will present information about the county, and entertain meetings with potential vendors and organizations to attract business to the county,” the resolution states.
The county’s participation at the 2010 air cargo forum, in Amsterdam, stirred up controversy. Citizens criticized commission Vice-Chairman Wole Ralph and Economic Development Director Grant Wainscott’s participation in a group representing the City of Atlanta at the forum.
Ralph defended the trip in April 2011, arguing they were helping the city, which runs Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, lure more cargo companies to the airport. Although Atlanta runs the airport, it is located in Clayton County. Ralph said the trip resulted in Italian air cargo company, Cargoitalia, agreeing to operate out of the airport.
Middle Eastern cargo airline, Qatar Airways, and the cargo arms of Air France and British Airways have also brought their operations to the airport over the last two years. Additionally, Luxembourg-based Cargolux and the cargo branches of several Asian airlines have increased their operations at Hartsfield-Jackson since 2010.