Georgia expects to boost its marketing efforts to attract international travelers from Asia, Canada and Mexico, Gov. Sonny Perdue told GlobalAtlanta during a press conference last week that announced the formation of the New Georgia Tourism Foundation.
The foundation is a public-private initiative proposed by the Georgia Legislature that coordinates the state’s tourism marketing efforts into one organization. It was endorsed by Mr. Perdue last week, as he signed Senate Bill 125 into law at the Atlanta Centennial Park using the Georgia Aquarium as a backdrop.
“In the past we have tried to attract international travelers in a fragmented way… but now we have a more coordinated and efficient way to market the state’s tourist assets,” Mr. Perdue said.
The state will be better prepared to attract many of the Asian tourists that have visited Georgia’s golf courses in recent years, the governor said. He also said he hoped to attract Canadian tourists traveling on Interstate 75 to the Georgia Aquarium, expected to open at the end of this year.
Already the second biggest industry in the state, offering 200,000 jobs, the tourism industry can provide stable job growth in every area of Georgia, the governor said. “These jobs are not exportable. No one is going to duplicate this aquarium or take Stone Mountain to China,” he said.
The New Georgia Tourism Foundation will seek private donations for tourism, conduct public-private advertising campaigns and provide strategic planning and support for tourist destinations in the state.
It was born out of the Governor’s Commission for a New Georgia headed by Phil S. Jacobs, president of Georgia operations for BellSouth Telecommunications Inc., and is to be chaired by Commissioner Craig Lesser of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
For more information about the New Georgia Tourism Foundation, contact Shane Hix at the governor’s office at (404) 651-7774.