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Governor Perdue Signs Legislation to Bolster Georgia's Tourism Marketing Efforts

Tuesday, April 26, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue signed legislation today in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park creating the New Georgia Tourism Foundation (SB125).  The bill signing ceremony followed a tour of the Georgia Aquarium that is under construction adjacent to the park.  The legislation, sponsored by State Senator Jeff Mullis, was a key component of the Governor's 2005 legislative agenda. 

SB125 provides Georgia's 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 transform one of our state's largest industries,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.  “The foundation will coordinate state, local and private sector marketing efforts to leverage the natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich attractions across Georgia.  By streamlining these marketing efforts, we'll bring even more visitors to cities and counties 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.

             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.

 The New Georgia Tourism Foundation will be chaired by GDEcD Commissioner Craig Lesser.  Other members of the Foundation 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 members at large appointed by the Governor.

Today Governor Perdue will also visit the Lane Packing Company in Fort Valley for a ceremonial bill signing illustrating an agri-tourism destination in Georgia.

Governor Perdue also signed today Senate Bill 41 designating the green tree frog as the official state amphibian.