The Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism will have a new name on July 1, which according to state officials better reflects its mission as the state’s main economic development agency. New legislation gives the agency the power to purchase and hold large tracts of land for development.

Gov. Sonny Perdue signed the legislation changing the department’s name to the Georgia Department of Economic Development last week.

“This name change is an attempt to better reflect the many functions encompassed by the department,” Kevin Langston, director of communications and international relations,” told GlobalAtlanta.

The ability to offer a prospective company a large tract of property for development greatly increases Georgia’s competitive edge, said Mr. Langston, citing 1,500 acres the state purchased in a failed attempt to secure a $700 million DaimlerChrysler auto plant near Savannah. The site is currently unoccupied and available for development.

“When we can offer builders free and clear title to a site, that’s a huge advantage,” he said. “It can save a company time looking for a site as well as money.”

GDITT, originally called the Department of Commerce, was established in 1949 and replaced the former Agricultural and Industrial Development Board. The agency partners with other statewide economic and community development agencies, educational institutions and corporations to develop Georgia’s competitive position in domestic and global markets.

Responsibilities include attracting new business, facilitating business expansion and relocation, promoting tourism, providing domestic and international marketing, and supporting and recommending filming locations for the production of movies.

Economic development efforts are currently focused on the auto industry, life sciences, and logistic and distribution facilities.

The legislation also gives the agency’s tourism division the ability to leverage private support for tourism promotion by allowing corporate sponsorship of products and events.

For more information, contact Mr. Langston at 404-651-8578 or