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National softball event expected to energize local economy

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. — More than 100 girls fastpitch softball teams from 14 states are heading to Forsyth County and Alpharetta for four days of tournament play at The Triple Crown Southeast Nationals July 15–18.

The tournament will be held at multiple sports facilities including Alpharetta’s North Park and Fowler Park and Forsyth County’s Coal Mountain Park, Sharon Springs Park and Central Park.

Fastpitch club travel teams from throughout the country with top nationally ranked girls 14U, 16U and 18U squads will compete for the Southeast Nationals title over the four-day event.

The players, coaches and fans – including 80 umpires – will be a welcome sight to the area’s hospitality industry which has suffered double-digit losses in occupancy rates over the past year.

Things have recovered from levels during the height of the pandemic, when hotel occupancy rates were at 10 percent, said Michelle Daniels, vice president of Business Development for the Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce.

“Over the last six months, the Forsyth County hotels have bounced back tremendously, thanks to the incredible Forsyth County Parks & Recreation team who were able to create safety measures to allow sports tournaments to resume,” Daniels said.

Lake Lanier also helped, continuing to draw visitors looking to get outdoors in a safe environment, she said.

The Southeast Nationals is a showcase event.

“The tournament brings in thousands of new visitors annually, and we work with event planners to ensure our local businesses are showcased,” Daniels said.

The chamber partners with local hotels, restaurant and retail operators to coordinate visitor itinerary options, including local adventures to explore while off the field, she said.

“By doing this, visitors are spending time and money at Forsyth County businesses which supports the local industry and boosts tax revenue,” Daniels said.

Alpharetta, with 29 hotels, is likely to get a big boost from the tournament. The occupancy rate has been on the incline since January when the rate was just over 40 percent. The rate has climbed to 56 percent currently.

Janet Rodgers, president and CEO of the Alpharetta Convention & Visitors Bureau, said her organization measures economic impact by the number of Alpharetta hotel rooms that are occupied by an event. Historically, the CVB uses $216 ($80 hotel room, $50 gas and $86 meals) per day as a consistent formula to calculate economic impact.

Rodgers called it a conservative and consistent formula the bureau has used for years.

This year’s event is expected to rack up 750 room nights and pump close to $195,000 into the local economy, Rodgers said.

“Given that Alpharetta’s travel landscape is currently over 90 percent leisure and individual travelers, having group sporting events stay in the destination is a substantial occupancy and revenue booster for our hotels,” she said.

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