Southwest Georgia’s manufacturing, education and tourism industries were the subjects of the 21st annual International VIP Tour for consular and trade officials representing 17 countries.

From April 25-27, the government officials based in Atlanta visited businesses and destinations in Albany, Cecil, Cordele, Fitzgerald, Thomasville, Tifton and Valdosta.

The tour, which is led each year by the Georgia Department of Economic Development, introduces Atlanta’s diplomatic corps to various parts of Georgia and their industries.

“Our consular corps always looks forward to getting to know the people of Georgia through the VIP Tour,” said Remedios Gomez Arnau, consul general of Mexico and dean of the consular corps. “Visiting various areas of the state is the best way to find out new ways our countries can make social, political, economic and cultural connections with Georgia’s communities.”

The VIP Tour this year included representatives of Albania, Australia, Botswana, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Lithuania, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, Switzerland and Taiwan.

On the tour, participants visited MacGregor Golf Co.’s headquarters and production facility and the Flint RiverQuarium in Albany. They stayed overnight stay at Lake Blackshear Resort in Crisp County, and then toured Agrirama, an agricultural history museum in Tifton.

They also visited Fitzgerald and the East Central Technical College, where they met with officials affiliated with Millennium Technology Pointe, a regional economic development venture between the Joint Development Authorities of Ben Hill and Irwin counties.

The group toured South Georgia Motorsports Park in Adel in Cook County and spent the night at Melhana Plantation in Thomasville.

Finally, the group went to Valdosta to visit SAFT, a French company that designs and manufactures high-tech batteries, and to tour Moody Air Force Base and meet with civic and business leaders of Valdosta-Lowndes County.

The Consular Corps of consuls general, consuls, honorary consuls and trade commissioners represents 57 countries.

Story Contacts, Links and Related Stories
Georgia Department of Economic Development – Alison Tyrer (404) 962-4078