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Governor's Legislation Seeks To Boost Georgia Tourism

Wednesday, February 2, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Bill Coordinates Tourism Initiatives, Assets, Marketing

ATLANTA - Today Governor Sonny Perdue announced the introduction of legislation to the Georgia General Assembly that will provide Georgia’s state tourism agencies and local communities with a new tool to promote the state’s outstanding array of tourist attractions. This tourism legislation will create a new public-private foundation to maximize and consolidate Georgia’s tourism marketing efforts, attract more visitors and increase the industry’s economic impact throughout the state.

The New Georgia Tourism Foundation will pool the state’s tourism marketing resources and leverage the private sector to support the growth of the tourism industry statewide. The non-profit organization will be charged with developing public-private advertising campaigns; soliciting private donations for tourism; offering strategic planning and support for Georgia’s state facilities through tourism product development; aligning the state’s five halls of fame for promotion and better coordination of marketing, advertising, customer service and telling the story of Georgia’s tourism heritage. The concept of the New Georgia Tourism Foundation was endorsed by the Governor’s Commission for a New Georgia.

“The new Tourism Foundation will streamline the state’s tourism efforts by bringing all agencies together to create a unified voice for Georgia tourism,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “Tourism is one of our state’s largest industries and it is imperative that we do everything possible to support its growth. It is also a smart move economically, because tourism means more dollars spent in Georgia’s cities and counties.” According to tourism officials, Georgia generated $708.5 million in state tax revenues from the tourism industry in 2003.

“Georgia possesses a rich variety of cultural heritage tourism offerings that appeal to every kind of traveler,” said Senator Jeff Mullis, Chairman of the Senate Economic Development Committee and sponsor of the legislation. “This legislation will help communities throughout the state make the most of their unique attractions, reach potential visitors and draw them to our state.”

Georgia’s Aviation, Golf, Music and Sports Halls of Fame will be administratively assigned to the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), allowing for coordinated promotion and improved marketing of their unique offerings. Local communities will be able to leverage GDEcD’s national marketing strategy to attract tourists to every region of the state.

“By unifying our state’s diverse tourism assets and the marketing efforts deployed to support them, we can better promote Georgia tourism while making our budgets go further,” said GDEcD Commissioner Craig Lesser.

The New Georgia Tourism Foundation will be chaired by Commissioner Lesser. Other members of the Foundation will include the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Executive Directors of the Jekyll Island State Park Authority, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority, the North Georgia Mountains Authority, and the Southwest Georgia Railway Excursion Authority. Additionally serving on the Foundation Board will be representatives of each of the five halls of fame, and five members at large will be appointed by the Governor.