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2012 guide unveiled at annual Tourism and Hospitality Day event

January 24, 2012...Gov. Nathan Deal joined Georgia's tourism and hospitality industry today for the annual Tourism & Hospitality Day at the state Capitol to highlight the important role tourism plays in Georgia's economy. Representatives from the tourism industry presented Deal with a check representing $1.185 billion in state tax revenue generated from tourism-related expenditures in 2010.

"The tourism industry is a huge economic engine for the state of Georgia," said Deal. "The more than 391,000 Georgians employed by the industry are an integral part of Georgia's economy."

Deal also unveiled the new 2012 annual Georgia Travel Guide. This full-color, magazine-size guide features Georgia's own Lady Antebellum on the cover photographed at Evans Town Center Park in Columbia County. The guide provides visitors with information on Georgia's tourism assets including trip ideas, attractions, accommodations, events and more. 750,000 guides are distributed through the state's 11 Visitor Information Centers, www.ExploreGeorgia.org, travel and trade shows and 1-800-VISIT GA. The Georgia Department of Economic Development partnered with Emmis Custom Publishing (publisher of Atlanta Magazine) on the state's official travel guide.

"Domestic and international visitors spent $21 billion in Georgia in 2010, an 8.3 percent increase from 2009. This increase in visitor spending contributed $2.4 billion in state and local tax revenue in our state," said Kevin Langston, deputy commissioner for tourism for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. "Georgia was also the fourth fastest-growing destination in the United States for international travelers, with a 19 percent increase."

The Georgia Tourism division markets Georgia as a premier travel and tourism destination in order to increase visitation and create jobs. The state is also launching a new tourism campaign "The South With A Twist." The campaign highlights authentic experiences through bold and bright photography evoking a contemporary and modern feel. The new campaign can also been seen on ExploreGeorgia.org. The state's tourism website had a 30 percent increase in website traffic, totaling more than 1.5 million visits in 2011. Our international efforts have helped us to achieve record numbers with more than 112 international tour operators carrying Georgia tourism product in the top-producing countries for inbound travel. The product development team and regional tourism representatives assisted 777 communities statewide to enhance their tourism product. Georgia's Visitor Information Centers also served 12 million travelers last year and booked more than 30,000 room nights in Georgia hotels.

About GDEcD

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state's sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a destination for arts events and location for film, music and digital entertainment projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. www.georgia.org.

CONTACT:

Stefanie Paupeck

Georgia Department of Economic Development

404-962-4075

Spaupeck@georgia.org