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Governor Perdue Unveils Heritage Tourism Initiative

Sunday, August 28, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


GREENSBORO, GA. – Today Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue unveiled the details of his
Heritage Tourism Initiative at the Southern Governors’ Association (SGA) annual meeting in
Greensboro, Georgia, themed “Soul of the South: Our Heritage, Our Hospitality, Our Hometowns.”
In his keynote address, Governor Perdue focused on the link between tourism and economic
development, encouraging fellow southern governors to invest in programs meant to attract visitors
to the south as a region.

Tourism is the second largest industry in Georgia and brought an economic impact of $26
billion to our state in 2004,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “While the South has excellent
traditional tourism assets such as beaches and mountains, we have an opportunity to expand our
portfolio and market our region’s cultural and historical resources.”

Governor Perdue announced a new interactive travel web site that will offer visitors
extensive information on the South’s music history, mapping southern attractions for tourists
interested in southern music. The web site, which will be launched in the spring of 2006, will be
the first regional tourism trail to be featured in an interactive web site.

Governor Perdue also announced that SGA has developed a relationship with Southern Living magazine, which will feature a variety of music heritage tourist destinations in the South in
spring 2006 issues.

Conference participants heard from Dr. Rich Harrill, the director of the Institute for
Tourism Research at the University of South Carolina, School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism
Management. Dr. Harrill presented his findings on best practices in southern tourism during a
plenary session. Dr. Harrill wrote a book entitled “Guide to Best Practices in Tourism and
Destination Management,” which is expected to be published in the fall of 2005 exploring
successful tourism strategies in the South.

“One of the reasons I chose heritage tourism as the primary initiative for my SGA
chairmanship is because no other region in the nation can match the South’s inventory of unique
attractions,” said Governor Perdue. “Travelers are looking for more interesting activities during
their vacations. Agritourism, music history, film legacy and historic sites are all components of
heritage tourism that are in demand.”

Recent industry research underscores the value of attracting heritage tourists to the South. A
report by the Travel Industry Association (TIA) found that historic and cultural travelers spend an
average of $623 per person, per trip, considerably higher than the overall average of $457 per
person, per trip (excluding the cost of transportation). TIA also found that visiting historic sites and
museums is the third most popular leisure travel experience, behind shopping and outdoor

As the 2005 chairman, Governor Perdue is hosting the SGA annual meeting at the Ritz-
Carlton, Reynolds Plantation. The annual meeting continues through Tuesday, August 30. In
addition to tourism, the governors will discuss energy, education and health care throughout the