The tourism industry in Georgia contributes more than $68 billion to the state economy according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. As an economy recovers like it is this year following Covid-19, having visitors or tourists spending money in an area not only supports existing tourism infrastructure but it gets money moving through the economy faster than other industries which might be lagging.
This week is National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) and to celebrate – and to highlight the industry across Georgia – Governor Brian Kemp partnered with Explore Georgia to unveil its new ‘Ready. Set. Georgia.’ Campaign. Explore Georgia also released their Official State Travel Guide and announced $1 million in new grant funding.
“As more people are vaccinated and eager to travel, tourism is a top priority for Georgia’s economy, and I am committed to ensuring both its recovery and continued success. I was glad to approve an additional $1 million to support communities throughout the state to restart their tourism marketing after a year when their primary funding source was impacted dramatically,” said Kemp. “This will continue to bolster our recovery efforts, helping our state’s tourism industry get back on its feet, and welcome more visitors to Georgia.”
Georgia does have a bit of a leg up on other areas because the state has been open a little longer than some others, hiring and ramping back up has already taken place in many areas. Data from industry group Arrivalist shows that trips to or within Georgia were up 75% in March from last year and up 23% compared to Q1 in 2020. People are not only returning to their normal lives but maybe even taking extra trips to celebrate the end of lockdowns.
“Despite the challenges tourism has faced, our team at Explore Georgia found creative ways to promote safe travel to Georgia. With the support of Governor Kemp and our tourism partners across the state, we’ve been able to ensure that Georgia is in the best position possible as we begin recovery,” said Pat Wilson, Commissioner of GDEcD. “All across the state, we are seeing evidence that tourism – despite the pandemic – has remained strong and will prosper for years to come.”
The tourism industry has been hit as hard as any industry over the past year. Industry professionals have come together and the shared situation across the country has required innovation and a new level of communication. This year’s NTTW suddenly has new meaning as the economy looks to recovery and states look to boost their economies, not to mention the hundreds and thousands of places large and small across the state and country looking to keep the lights on and share their little slice of culture and history with others.
“NTTW takes on a special significance this year as the travel industry looks to rebound quickly from the pandemic and accelerate recovery efforts,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “The past year was incredibly challenging, but we saw the full power of the travel industry on display in the way we united and supported one another through this crisis.”