ATLANTA, Sept. 2, 2015 - The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) has awarded $130,000 in product development agreements to 11 tourism and art entities across the state. Georgia Tourism and the Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) have partnered for the past three years in order to continue to maximize the state's Tourism Product Development program.

"Georgia's heritage and cultural attractions, destinations and events are among the most popular reasons travelers choose to visit our state," said Kevin Langston, deputy commissioner of the Georgia Tourism division. "With the creation of these new tourism offerings, Georgia can provide new options for visitors to improve their vacation experience, and also give them more reasons to return."

The Tourism Product Development Agreement program was designed to financially support tourism and cultural development activities at the local level that maintain and create jobs, attract tourists, and enhance the visitor experience. The Georgia Department of Economic Development received 63 applications for the 2016 Tourism Product Development program amounting to more than $725,041 in requests.

"The Tourism Product Development program supports the projects of local communities by giving them the additional resources needed to support and cultivate their local arts-based tourism assets," said Karen Paty, executive director of Georgia Council for the Arts. "From this funding each community can increase public access to high quality arts and cultural offerings that bring communities together and provide the unique offerings that tourists are seeking."

Recipients of the 2016 Tourism Product Development recipients include:

• City of Dublin
• City of Statesboro
• Milledgeville Baldwin County Development Authority
• City of Griffin Downtown Development Authority
• City of LaGrange
• Jekyll Island Authority
• McIntosh County Industrial Development Authority
• Oconee River Greenway Authority
• Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)
• City of Toccoa
• City of Cedartown

Georgia Tourism's Product Development team assists private for-profit, non-profit and local governments by providing resources and financial assistance to develop tourism product across Georgia.

The Georgia Council for the Arts provides support for nonprofit arts organizations throughout the state. Established in 1965 as the Georgia Commission on the Arts, its mission is to encourage excellence in the arts, support the arts' many forms of expressions and make the arts available to all Georgians by providing funding, leadership, programming and other services.

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, align workforce education and training with in-demand jobs, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a destination for arts and location for film, music and digital entertainment projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development.