Explore Georgia, the state tourism office within the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), joined Governor Kemp and industry professionals from across the state today to recognize a record-breaking year in tourism at the annual Tourism, Hospitality and Arts Day at the Georgia State Capitol. The annual event highlights the importance of the tourism, hospitality, and arts industries in the state.
Georgia welcomed 111.7 million international and domestic visitors in 2018, who collectively spent $36.9 billion in communities throughout the state and directly supported 478,000 jobs. Without the jobs created by the tourism industry, Georgia’s unemployment rate would be 10%, nearly twice as high as the record-low average. Governor Kemp was presented with a check from industry leaders representing the $3.4 billion in state and local tax revenue generated by tourism-related expenditures in 2018.
“As visitors continue to discover Georgia’s unexpected destinations that range from the North Georgia Mountains to Cumberland Island, our economy continues to grow, new jobs are created, and our communities thrive,” said Pat Wilson, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “The tourism, hospitality, and arts industries are constantly propelling our state’s places, culture, stories, and people to the forefront – showing the world why Georgia is the best place to vacation, live, and do business.”
During the event, Explore Georgia also debuted the 2020 Explore Georgia Travel Guide, which for the first time features photography visitors took as they experienced some of the most inspiring and surprising destinations throughout the state. This is the first Georgia travel guide cover to use images sourced directly from real visitors sharing their personal experiences in Georgia. The guide offers visitors inspiration and information on Georgia’s best destinations, including trip ideas, attractions, and events to encourage more people to explore Georgia.
The 2020 Explore Georgia Travel Guide is available for free at any of the state’s 11 Visitor Information Centers, by visiting ExploreGeorgia.org, or by calling 1-800-VISIT GA. Explore Georgia partnered with Atlanta Magazine Custom Media, the award-winning publisher of Atlanta Magazine and Southbound Magazine, to produce the travel guide. Blue Sky Agency in Atlanta designed the cover of the guide, and Ben Galland of H2O Creative Group in Brunswick, Georgia, shot the opening photography for each region.