Governor Brian P. Kemp was joined by Georgia tourism industry professionals from across the state for the annual Tourism, Hospitality & Arts Day at the Capitol to recognize the importance of the tourism industry in Georgia.

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“Georgia’s tourism industry continues to break visitation and impact records, helping to boost our economy and sustain more than 460,000 jobs for hardworking Georgians,” said Governor Kemp. “I look forward to working with industry leaders in the months and years ahead to spur job creation, encourage investment, and make Georgia #1 for small business.”

The state’s tourism industry generated a record-breaking $63.1 billion in economic impact in 2017, for an increase of 3.8 percent over last year, according to the U.S. Travel Association and Tourism Economics. Leaders in the industry presented Governor Kemp with a check representing the $3.2 billion in state and local tax revenue generated by tourism-related expenditures in 2017.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our industry partners in hospitality and tourism,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “These entrepreneurs and innovators are committed to creating new tourism product and enhancing existing experiences across the state. Thanks to them, it’s no surprise when visitors come back to Georgia again and again.”

Kemp also unveiled the cover of the 2019 Explore Georgia Travel Guide, which features tubing down the Chattahoochee River in Helen, an iconic Georgia pastime that has been enjoyed by visitors and locals for decades. The 190-plus page travel guide provides visitors with detailed information on Georgia’s tourism assets, including trip ideas, attractions, accommodations and events. More than 700,000 copies are printed to inspire potential visitors to book trips filled with authentic Georgia experiences.

“The Explore Georgia Travel Guide is a key marketing tool designed to inspire visitors and assist them with planning a memorable Georgia vacation,” said Kevin Langston, deputy commissioner for tourism at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Each year, the state travel guide showcases iconic experiences that can only be found in Georgia, attracting visitors to explore our state.”

Within the pages of the guide, readers will find inspiring feature stories that take them through the history of civil rights on Georgia’s Footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Trail, offer a glimpse into Georgia’s past and natural treasures at one of Georgia’s 63 State Parks and Historic Sites, and entice travelers to take the road less traveled on epic road trips, like Georgia Grown Trail 37.

The guides are available for free at one of the state’s 11 visitor information centers, travel and trade shows, ExploreGeorgia.org and 1-800-VISIT GA. GDEcD partnered with Atlanta Magazine Custom Media, the award-winning publisher of Atlanta Magazine and Southbound Magazine, to produce the travel guide.