Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Coastal Georgia Wins over New Fans; Tourist Industry Hopes Super Bowl Visitors Will Return

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Coastal Georgia Wins over New Fans; Tourist Industry Hopes Super Bowl Visitors Will Return

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson, The Times-Union

BRUNSWICK -- If there is one thing Kevin Runner doesn't like about the Super Bowl, it is that there just aren't enough of them.

"Have one every weekend," the general manager of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel said. "It was awesome."

Awesome in that it filled up a lot of Glynn County rooms with appreciative guests who may come back.

The hotel was booked with corporate guests who were appreciative not only of the biggest football game of the year, but also of where they were laying their heads at night. Runner learned that from overhearing some cell phone conversations.

"You wouldn't believe this place," he recalled one guest saying. "This was a hunting lodge for Goodyear and Morgan."

And indeed, all of Jekyll Island was the private hunting club for the fabulously wealthy of a century ago, who formed the Federal Reserve right on the island.

Bill Tipton, executive director of the Brunswick-Golden Isles Visitor and Tourism Bureau, said he has heard a lot of stories like Runner's.

The consensus from hoteliers is that most of the guests went to Jacksonville early and drove back to Glynn County at night to sleep, he said. That meant most restaurants and bars didn't do as well as they typically do the weekend of the Georgia-Florida Game, Tipton said.

That didn't stop Tipton from making an impression with signs, banners and advertisements in newspapers and souvenir guides and other items Super Bowl fans could take home.

"The theme was basically we hope you'll come back when you have more time to explore our area," Tipton said.

The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort found itself doing some last-minute scrambling to accommodate some corporate guests, but General Manager Michael Johnson said the beachfront hotel on St. Simons Island was able to provide the service. …

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