Dothan’s touted athletic facilities will pay dividends for restaurateurs, hoteliers, and retailers alike in the next week and a half as two major events begin this weekend.
The Circle City BMX Nationals, a bicycle-racing event, begins Friday at Westgate Park. The USA BMX event is expected to bring 4,500 or more people to Dothan, according the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce.
Then play in the 70th annual Press Thornton Future Masters begins Sunday at the Dothan Country Club, though participants will practice Saturday at the golf course. Another 900-plus people per day will come to Dothan for the event, which lasts all next week.
Those visitors equate to packed hotels, crowded restaurants, and busy retailers, said Aaron McCreight, Visit Dothan executive director.
“This weekend will be the busiest weekend on the calendar with the combination of the BMX Nationals and the Future Masters,” he said. “You’ll have 1,200 to 1,500 riders for the BMX Nationals and upwards of 4,500 to 5,000 visitors. Then there’s the 70th annual Future Masters, and they have 464 players from 27 different states and nine different countries.”
As the area’s convention and visitors bureau, Visit Dothan produces a newsletter to let area businesses – especially hotels – know of upcoming events, McCreight said. Many of them know about the events years in advance, though, and try to ensure they have enough staffing to handle the workload, he added.
While it may take more hands on deck to handle the volume of tourists, the businesses reap immediate benefits, McCreight said. Visit Dothan officials estimate the BMX event – which is returning to Dothan after a two-year hiatus – will generate about $1 million in direct revenue, while the Future Masters could produce more than $500,000 in direct revenue.
“Those are outside dollars. Those are normally not here,” McCreight said.
While the impact will be immediate for retailers, the events will likely produce major results for the City of Dothan and Houston County governments later. Businesses remit the sales and lodging taxes collected in June to government officials in July.
Dothan has experienced an economic boom recently as sales tax collections have soared 10.9 percent in the past year. Lodging tax collections have also spiked, rising 24.2 percent in the past year.