Currently Tallapoosa County has two organizations promoting tourism — Lake Martin Tourism Association (LMTA) and Tallapoosa County Tourism (TCT).
LMTA is funded by the City of Alexander City and TCT by the Tallapoosa County Commission.
LMTA executive director Brandy Hastings has resigned her position according to city leaders and now the discussion centers on how to move forward.
“I know it was asked about having one tourism director,” Alexander City councilmember Bobby Tapley said. “I mentioned a long time ago about combining instead of having two, just have one.”
Currently the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance serves as the economic development authority for all of Tallapoosa and Coosa counties funded by the counties and several of the municipalities including Alexander City. Thoughts are savings could be generated by combining tourism promotion efforts between Alexander City and Tallapoosa County would work.
“What is currently happening with two is we have two websites that we are paying for the maintenance of, social media platforms, duplicate of local ads, google ads, duplicate of brochures and more,” Tapley said. “Combining would be saving money which could go to fishing tournaments and the appropriations we had to cut back. We would have more money to go to that.”
TCT is currently led by Sandra Fuller. Tapley believes a combined effort makes sense and would allow more promotion of the entire area.
“I think you can add an additional employee at a lower cost and focus on social media and workforce development with hotels and events,” Tapley said. “Currently when Sandra pulls something into Horseshoe Bend, Dadeville or wherever, it benefits Alex City already. There is nowhere else for these people to stay, they have to come to Alex City.
“She is already working on the city’s behalf. I think it would be good to name one and pool our resources.”
Mayor Woody Baird said discussions have started about possibly combining efforts.
“It’s something we are exploring and will get deeper into,” Baird said. “I think it would be great because it would give a lot more resources to Sandra.”
Tallapoosa County commissioner Steve Robinson said the county had plans to grow its tourism promotion efforts at some point and is not opposed to a combined effort.
“I’m not saying yes or no as I’m one of a group of commissioners,” Robinson said. “We can make it work. Strategically we had planned to grow that group and there is a (return on investment) there.”