Scott McQuade’s mind was racing Tuesday afternoon with the new ideas he heard earlier in the day at College of Coastal Georgia’s Hospitality Tourism and Event Management Forum.
“I thought it was wonderful,” said McQuade, executive director of the Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau. “There were so many good ideas presented and so many things I think that can benefit this community.”
The event, hosted by the college’s school of business and public affairs, brought in experts to explore major trends and challenges in the hospitality and tourism industry that McQuade seeks to promote.
“Tourism is a really competitive field,” McQuade said. “We’re fortunate to have our beaches, but we need to think beyond that.”
Which is why some of the ideas presented by Christian Hardigree, director of the institute for culinary sustainability and hospitality at Kennesaw State University, piqued McQuade’s interest.
Hardigree talked about sustainability and the future of the food service industry.
Kennesaw State works with a farm in North Georgia to supply its dining halls, she said.
McQuade said he thinks the farm-to-table movement in restaurants around the country is something Glynn County could capitalize on to enhance the experience for tourists. Being able to tout that local fare is served in local restaurants would make Glynn County more attractive to visitors.
“We have ample space to provide what the market is moving toward,” McQuade said.
Sparking ideas like that is why Skip Mounts, dean of the business school at the college, wanted to host Tuesday’s event.
“We want to show how the college and the school of business is committed to engaging the community, particularly the tourism and hospitality sector,” Mounts said.
He sees the business school’s role as one that can enhance and enrich the economic conditions in the area.
Chris Brown, professor in Kennesaw State’s department of exercise science and sports management, suggested during his presentation on golf tourism that College of Coastal Georgia could add a few classes and continue working with local golf courses to bolster an already strong golf presence in the Golden Isles.
Golf is one of the area’s many assets and one in which College of Coastal Georgia President Greg Aloia is hoping to find new ways to leverage with events like Tuesday’s forum. He wanted the college to take a leadership role in starting the discussion by bringing experts to campus to talk about their ideas with more than 75 students and community leaders.
“We want to look at how we can distill that into ideas that our students can use,” Aloia said.
Getting students thinking now about how to move the tourism industry forward could pay dividends in the future, he said.
The Brunswick News