If you’re anywhere near south Georgia during the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo later this month, it’s easy to see the tremendous economic impact the annual show has on the region.

Now, a study for the University of Georgia’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development confirms this impact.

With thousands of people attending the Expo but limited accommodations in the immediate Moultrie, Ga., area, businesses throughout a 50-mile radius realize significant economic activity during the show, according to the study.

Total economic output in a 20-county region attributable to the Expo is $14.1 million, with an income of $4.7 million being generated for employees and proprietors in the region.

The study shows that activities related to the Expo involve 411 part-time and full-time jobs. The 20 counties in the region collect $271,672 in local tax revenues because of business activity associated with the Expo, while state tax collections total $590,273. With typical growth for the Georgia economy, the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo is projected to contribute $162.5 million in economic output over the next 10 years to the Moultrie region.

The University of Georgia study also shows that the Expo attracts visitors from an average distance of 145 miles who average 1.47 days in attendance. Exhibitors travel an average of 550 miles to Moultrie and average 3.68 days at the Expo. Accommodations and services for these attendees involve businesses in Moultrie and in the surrounding region of 20 counties.

Of those attending the Expo, 20.7 percent stayed in hotels and motels within 50 miles of Moultrie, averaging 2.12 nights of lodging. For exhibitors, 68.5 percent stayed in hotels and motels for an average of 4.58 nights. With exhibitors averaging 3.68 days at the Expo, survey results indicate that some exhibitors are in the Moultrie area before and/or after the event.

Nightly expenditures per person suggest that visitors participate in more room sharing than exhibitors, and exhibitors are more likely to lodge with one person in a room.

Nightly expenditures per person for lodging outside of 50 miles indicate that lodging facilities are able to charge premiums for proximity to the Expo.

Visitors who purchased meals at restaurants within 50 miles of Moultrie averaged $18.36 per person for each day at the Expo, while exhibitors averaged $29.39 per day. There were no survey purchases of high-value agricultural equipment such as tractors and harvesters. Although negotiations at the Expo may result in sales that are completed after the Expo, sales during the Expo consisted mostly of implements such as rotary cutters and trailers.

This year’s Sunbelt Expo is scheduled for Oct. 17-19.

e-mail: phollis@farmpress.com