Tourism board gains member from Suwanee

DULUTH - Tourism officials welcomed a new member to the Gwinnett Convention & Visitors Bureau board of directors Wednesday, but they delayed a decision on another nominee.

After acting to expand the board's membership to allow a city representative, the board approved the nomination of Suwanee Councilwoman Jeannine Rispin.

Suwanee is the only city eligible for a board position, although officials are hoping the slot will encourage more cities to charge a hotel/motel tax rate on par with the county, donating part of the proceeds to the bureau.

Rispin's term will expire at the end of the year, and then board members will consider a nomination for a three-year term.

Officials also discussed the nomination of Brad Williams, son of Lake Lanier Islands' owner Virgil Williams, to represent the hospitality industry.

Although many board members said Williams, a local resident, would be a good addition to the board, others expressed concern that the water park, golf course and convention center is located just north of the county border.

Board Chairman Richard Tucker noted that the Williams family's planned improvements could have a great impact on the Gwinnett economy and hotels, but the decision was delayed to the board's next meeting in August.