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Road To Tara Museum offering discounted admission this week

Officials also touting $1.2 billion tourism impact

JONESBORO — The Clayton County Convention and Visitors Bureau is taking a cue from the 75th anniversary of the film version of “Gone With The Wind” by offering a special admission discount at the Road To Tara Museum this week.

The museum has discounted its admission fee to 75 cents until Saturday in honor of the movie and the fact that this week is National Tourism Week. “Gone With The Wind” bus tours will also be offered for $7.50 per person.

“This is a great opportunity for those who have visited before and for those who haven’t to visit and see what the museum is featuring and has added over the last year,” said CVB marketing and communications director Danielle Conroy. “This is a big anniversary for the film and we’d love for fans of the movie to come out and celebrate with us.”

The “Gone With The Wind”-themed Road to Tara museum ties into Clayton County’s ties to the book, which include the fact that author Margaret Mitchell based the book on stories she heard during visits to the county. The fictional Tara plantation was set near Jonesboro in both the book and movie.

The film includes a scene where the taxes on Tara are paid with a check written out to the Clayton County tax collector.

Over the last 12 months, the museum has expanded to include new permanent exhibits. The added features include portrait roundels from the “Gone With The Wind” premiere and information on the Battle of Jonesborough (as the city’s name was spelled at the time).

In addition to the movie’s anniversary, this year also marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Jonesborough, which was fought in the city’s streets from Aug. 31 until Sept. 1, 1864.

The museum is housed in the historic Jonesboro Train Depot, 104 North Main St. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Regular admission prices are $7 for adults and $6 for senior citizens and children. Regular bus tour tickets cost $21.95 for adults, $21.95 for seniors and $13.95 for children under 12.

Tourism has a big impact on Clayton County

While visitors bureau officials are celebrating the movie’s anniversary as part of National Tourism Week, they are also touting the $1.2 billion economic impact Georgia’s economic development officials said tourism had on the county last year.

Conroy said the amount of money visitors spent in the county put Clayton in the No. 4 spot for tourism spending, behind Fulton, Cobb and Chatham counties. The visitors spent enough money to support 30,810 tourism-related jobs in the county, she added.

Beyond the money spent in the county, Conroy said tourism-related taxes that were collected from visitors last year generated $1,924.84 in tax relief for each household in the county.

“Tourism is the No. 2 industry in the state of Georgia, so it’s big business for the state and for Clayton County,” said Conroy. “Clayton County feels the direct positive impact tourism has through household tax relief.”

Earlier this year, state and local tourism officials said they expect a huge year for tourism in the county because of the anniversary of “Gone With The Wind.” In January, officials unveiled the 2014 Georgia tourism guide, which featured actors playing Rhett and Scarlett on the lawn of Stately Oaks Plantation in Jonesboro.

It was the first time Clayton County has been featured on the guide’s cover.

“You’ve got a great tourism product in Clayton County and not enough people know about it yet and we’re looking forward to, in this year, making that change,” said Kevin Langston, deputy commissioner of the state’s tourism division, during the cover’s unveiling at the state Capital.