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Governor Perdue Establishes Office of Protocol Services

Friday, October 10, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Office to Assist with G8 Summit, International Trade, Economic Development

Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue announced today the creation of the Governor's Office of Protocol Services. The office will serve as the central point of contact for the Atlanta Consular Corps, foreign government officials, and international VIPs, and will provide information and facilitate arrangements regarding their visiting, working, and living in Georgia.

"As Georgia's role as an international policy, diplomatic, and business center grows through events such as the G8 Summit and hemispheric trade meetings, so does the need for expanded services," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "The Office of Protocol Services will provide a central organization to meet the needs of our important international community and ensure that visitors from around the world are warmly received and have productive visits to Georgia."

Governor Perdue established the new office to support the needs of the Consular Corps and to handle the growing number of visits by international officials. Georgia will host the G8 Summit in 2004. Additionally, as part of its aggressive campaign to locate the Secretariat of the Free Trade Area of the Americas in Atlanta, the state will host the annual meeting of trade ministers from the Andean nations, the first time the group has gathered outside of South America.

The Governor's Office of Protocol Services, which will be housed in the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism (GDITT), will oversee all administrative functions associated with visits by international officials, facilitate VIP services at Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport, and serve as the Secretariat for Atlanta's Consular Corps. The office will also serve as a resource for information concerning proper protocol with regard to diplomats and officials throughout the world.

"The Governor's Office of Protocol Services will also work together with trade and investment professionals within consular agencies to expand Georgia's economic and commercial links here and abroad," said GDITT Commissioner Glenn Cornell. "These services will help businesses prosper and allow the state to profit through job creation. The office will also simplify doing business in Georgia for foreign visitors and investors."

"An Office of Protocol Services will help the state improve its relationship with the international community as we welcome foreign dignitaries and seek to draw international business to Georgia," said State Senator Jeff Mullis, Chairman of the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee.

Georgia is currently home to more than 1,600 internationally owned companies representing 39 countries. Foreign-based firms employ more than 125,000 Georgians and generated an estimated $15.5 billion in capital investment. In 2002, Georgia exports totaled more than $14.4 billion. In addition, more than 50 countries are represented in Georgia with general and honorary consulates, trade, tourist and cultural offices and bi-national chambers of commerce.

"As we work to pursue greater economic development in Georgia, the Office of Protocol Services will help us build stronger relationships with international guests that visit our great state," said State Representative Butch Parrish, Chairman of the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee.