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PORT WENTWORTH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND CITY OF PORT WENTWORTH END TOURISM PARTNERSHIP

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June 20, 2024

PORT WENTWORTH, GA – June 20, 2024 - The Port Wentworth Chamber of Commerce and City of Port Wentworth will be parting ways as partners in marketing and promoting the city as a tourism destination.

 

The Port Wentworth Chamber of Commerce has been contracted to serve as the Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) for the City since 1999. As a DMO, the Chamber of Commerce provides tourism marketing services for the City and the many events, festivals, and attractions hosted in Port Wentworth.

 

On Wednesday, May 29, 2024, the Chamber was presented with a contract termination letter from the City stating the letter served as a 30-day notice of the intention to cancel the tourism contract. The reason given was due to the Georgia Legislature voting to increase hotel-motel tax collection from 6% to 8% in February, which would “reset the distribution of funds.” City Manager Steve Davis stated in the letter, “…the City genuinely and sincerely appreciates all of the hard work and service put forth by the Chamber, its employees, and staff. Please accept this letter as notice that the City does not intend to offer the Port Wentworth Chamber of Commerce a new or updated contract as its non-profit organization to engage in the promotion of tourism, conventions, and trade shows, as defined by Georgia law.”

 

“After much discussion with our board of directors and staff members, the Chamber believes that this parting of the ways is in the best interest of the organization,” said April Cameron, Port Wentworth Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.

 

The Chamber is an advocate for Port Wentworth and has successfully worked to increase brand awareness and tourism dollars for our community. Based on the figures presented by the City in their FY25 budget proposal, hotel-motel excise taxes have steadily increased over the past few years as the Chamber has served as the DMO. Excise taxes are up nearly 22% from 2022, and according to STR Global, Port Wentworth hotel occupancy rates are up by 5.8% since May 2023.

 

The Chamber will continue to advocate for the residents and every business that chooses to call Port Wentworth home.