Welcome Center draws more than 4,000 visitors

Published 2:00 pm Monday, January 18, 2016

AMERICUS — Spend-the-night visitors from 43 states and at least 12 foreign countries made stops at the Americus Welcome Center during the past year, according to the Americus-Sumter County Tourism Council. Overall, a total of 4,070 visitors stopped at the center at 101 W. Lamar St. downtown, the sixth consecutive year that visitation topped 4,000.
The months of April, June, July and August were the busiest for the Americus Welcome Center, with more than 400 visitors stopping in each month.
The guests at the Americus Welcome Center were among the 293,066 visitors across Sumter County as a whole for the year. May, September and October were the busiest months countywide, with each month drawing more than 30,000 visitors.
Statistics maintained by the Tourism Council office show a broad spectrum of vi, Arizona and Colorado in April, California in July, and Idaho and Michigan in November highlight the geographic range of visitors who stopped at the Welcome Center in 2015.
Though the vast majority of out-of-towners typically are from across Georgia and Florida, the year 2015 even included visitors from Hawaii in June to Nairobi, Kenya, in September. Other countries that had residents stop in Americus during 2015 included Colombia, Japan, Kenya, Taiwan, Australia, Bolivia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Canada, China, and England. Some of the most delightful visitors who were thrilled to make a stop had more of a personal reason to visit than most — E.L. Americus and his family came from Mexico in December.
“Often times we take for granted just how important tourism is to the vibrancy of Americus and Sumter County,” said Steve Short, office assistant for the Americus-Sumter County Tourism Council. “To have visitors from 43 states and more than a dozen nations visit Americus is an asset for our region in a lot of ways. We are proud of what we have to offer and are grateful for those who choose to come here and spend money. People tell us they like our architecture and our history.”
Americus serves as the centerpiece of tourism for Sumter County, and the Welcome Center willingly provides tourists with information on hotel, restaurants, and sites to see. Informational guides, brochures and handouts are available free of charge. The Welcome Center staff eagerly directs visitors to in-town destinations such as the Rylander Theatre, Best Western Plus Windsor Hotel, and Habitat for Humanity Global Village, as well as to Andersonville, Leslie and Plains.
Sumter County is one of only three counties in the United States that is home to two national historic sites: the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains and the Andersonville National Historic Site in Andersonville. Of course the town of Andersonville, with its Drummer Boy Civil War Museum and other sites, and the Georgia Rural Telephone Museum in Leslie are big hits with sightseers as well.
In Americus, the Historic Driving Tour, Star Racing, Café Campesino, Thirteenth Colony Distilleries, and Souther Field and the Charles Lindbergh Statue draw numerous inquiries and visitors each year. During peak season, the SAM Shortline train ride also lures the young and young-at-heart to a spectacular stroll across the county. SAM Shortline’s 2016 season will begin anew in February.
— Submitted by Americus-Sumter County Tourism Council Inc.