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Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue
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Georgia Welcomes Growing Number of Visitors

Wednesday, May 19, 2004  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


G8 to Showcase World Class Destinations

ATLANTA, GA - Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that tourism expenditures in Georgia grew to $25 billion in 2003 according to a new economic impact report conducted by the Travel Industry of America (TIA). Georgia is now the seventh most-visited state in the nation. TIA measured impact on Georgia from January to December 2003. New figures show Georgia 's tourism industry directly supported $6 billion in resident wages, generated 209,500 tourism-related jobs, and created more than $708.5 million in state tax revenue.

"I am thrilled to see an increase in Georgia 's tourism numbers and our continued rise on the list of the most-visited states in the U.S. ," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "As we work to strengthen our public and private sector partnerships and showcase Georgia 's unique tourism destinations, we will see the industry's economic impact continue to grow."

The $25 billion in travel expenditures is a combination of direct, indirect, and induced spending. According to TIA, domestic travelers in Georgia directly spent $14.5 billion in 2003 on transportation, lodging, food, entertainment, recreation, and incidentals. In addition to direct spending on travel, visitors produced more than $10.2 billion in indirect and induced expenditures. Indirect impact occurs as travel industry business operators, such as restaurateurs, purchase goods and services from local suppliers. These purchases indirectly generate additional output or sales. Induced impact occurs when employees of businesses and their suppliers spend part of their earnings in an area. This spending generates sales in addition to the indirect impact.

"Governor Perdue, the Georgia General Assembly, and our tourism industry partners around the state have been working diligently to convey the message that tourism is a top economic driver for Georgia," GDITT Deputy Commissioner of Tourism Janis Cannon.

There were 48 million visitors who traveled to and through Georgia in 2003, up by 2.9% from 46.6 million in 2002* (*TIA Standard Revised Number for 2002). The highest visitation was in the third quarter between July and September 2003. According to the preliminary figures from TIA, Georgia moved its position from the eighth most visited state in the U.S. to the seventh, behind California , Florida , Texas , Pennsylvania , New York and North Carolina . In an effort to capture more data from this past year, TIA improved its TravelScope ® questionnaire to include "day travel," thereby indicating an increase in Georgia 's visitor volume to 48 million in 2003. Out of the 48 million, 82.2 percent traveled to the Peach State by automobile and RV. The Tourism Division's marketing efforts, over the last three campaigns, have targeted Georgians and the regional drive markets.

The report shows visitor expenditures directly supported 209,500 tourism-related jobs in Georgia , with the largest percent of employment, 39.4 percent, in the food service industry. This equates to $1.2 billion in wages for 82,600 employees in that industry. On average, for every $69,326 spent in Georgia by U.S. travelers, one job was generated in the state in 2003.

Other indicators that Georgia tourism is positively impacting the economy include an increase in public relations efforts and story placement generating 761 million impressions worth more than $5.8 million in earned media for calendar year 2003. Fulfillment requests also increased for "Georgia On My Mind" travel guides, attraction brochures, Kroger Host kits and tourism information to 939,662, up 125% from the previous year. Georgia Visitor Information Centers (VIC) were responsible for booking 22,233 room reservations in calendar year 2003, which equates to more than $1.4 million in room revenue for the state. The Georgia VICS have an estimated economic impact of $2.4 million.

The statewide TIA Economic Impact report also reveals information for seven key segments of the tourism sector - public transportation, auto transportation, lodging, food service, entertainment and recreation, general retail trade and travel planning. The complete results of the report are available online at under "Research."