Twenty-one consular and trade officials representing 16 countries visited businesses and hospitality centers in West Central and Middle Georgia April 13-15 during the 19th Annual Georgia VIP Tour.

The tour is held each year to familiarize the Consular Corps and foreign trade officials based in Atlanta with the state’s various businesses and tourist destinations.

This year’s tour group met with local officials in Callaway Gardens, Columbus, Forsyth, Fort Benning, Fort Valley, LaGrange, Macon, Pine Mountain and Warm Springs.

“Seeing facilities that contribute to Georgia’s business infrastructure, visiting examples of successful businesses in the state and meeting local officials keep them fully informed about the outstanding business environment Georgia is able to offer their respective countries,” said Craig Lesser, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

According to Mr. Lesser, participants toured a part of the state that they might not otherwise experience.

Participants from Atlanta included Argentine Consul General Carlos Layus, Australian Consul General Amanda Hodges, Costa Rican Consul General Emilia Trejos, Belgian Consul Jan Verbeeck,

British Consul General Michael Bates and Consul Helen Arbon, British American Business Group Board Member Mark Jackson, Canadian Consul General Malcolm McKechnie and Consul Christine Pappas,

Quebec Trade Office Director Louise Fortin, El Salvadoran Consul General Marcial Vela Ramos, Greek Consul Lambros Kakissis, Japan External Trade Organization Director Yusuke Narita, Korean Trade Center Deputy Director Jong-Lae Jeong,

Nigerian Consul General Rabiu Shehu and Vice Consul Helen Oru, Swiss Consul General Jorg Feigenwinter, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office Director General Rong Chuan “R.C.” Wu and Director Eugene Chen. Pongchaval “Frank” Sukitjavanich, deputy director of the Thai Trade Center in Miami and Rodney Zhenshan Wang, director at the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Houston, also attended.

For more information, contact Alison Tyrer at (404) 962-4078 or