In a time of immediate news and weather via television, internet, social media and Weather Bug we have become dependent on making our travel plans with weather in mind. The days of planning localized trips within a 200 mile radius well in advance are gone. Potential visitors are waiting for weather reports coming out mid week before they book their travel and their lodging for the upcoming weekend. This is especially true for the leisure travel market that chooses to travel based on a time of the year, a festival or any other non necessary travel. For example, if the reason you are traveling is business related or related to family events, sports events or concerts, our visitors are coming regardless of weather and have most likely booked their lodging in advance.

Our visitors to DeKalb are usually coming for the weekend as a leisure traveler and they are typically coming due to our scenery and other outdoor activities such as our fantastic parks or for one of our outdoor festivals. This fact makes the weather of upmost importance and these travelers often wait until the mid week weather forecasts come out before finalizing their weekend travel plans. If the weather forecast is good, then we know at certain times of the year, especially now in our ever popular fall foliage season, our visitors will be here. If the mid week forecast calls for a rainy weekend, then we are sunk. Most people will not come to outdoor festivals or outdoor related travel if the chance of rain is 50% or more.

This fall we have been extremely blessed with great weather at our primary events despite rain chances we had successful events that have taken place thus far like Boom Days Heritage Festival and Mentone Colorfest. Our leisure visitors absolutely love coming to our area during the fall foliage season. Our tourism numbers in the fall have risen steadily over the last decade and are verging on surpassing our summer numbers, especially now that school starts so early in August. August used to be a top travel month, but is not any longer. Our fall visitors come mostly from areas south of here where fall color is mostly absent.

We are the first area coming north from the coastal plains that is comprised mostly of hardwood forests and also have a high content of the trees that get the most colorful like; Maples, Black Gum, Sweet Gum, Dogwood’s, Sourwood, White Oaks and Scarlet Oaks. Our large acreage of public woodlands and heavily forested mountains make our area a delight for our fall foliage seekers. The Lookout Mountain Scenic Parkway and its optional route along the canyon rim is one of our most popular drives for fall foliage seekers.

Visitors to our area bring a lot of revenue into our tax base and they are critical to our overall economy in DeKalb. For all of us local Daycationeers and Staycationeers make sure you get out this weekend and enjoy the beauty of our area before the color is gone and the leaves have fallen and the season begins to shift into colder temperatures and more sunless days.

We have had a banner year this year, setting all tourism records for DeKalb County. Our lodging has been mostly full all year long and is especially true of our cabins and campgrounds. In our case once the markets opened back up after Covid 19 shutdowns we began focusing our advertising and marketing on our outdoor activities, ease of social distancing in our outdoor environment. Our cabin rentals and campgrounds fit that niche perfectly.

We are in about peak color right now, but feel this weekend will continue being extremely colorful.

— John Dersham is the president and CEO of DeKalb Tourism.

To learn more about the beauty of DeKalb County see inside today’s DeKalb County 2022 Official Travel Guide.

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