Atlanta

Georgia officials celebrate new tourism highs, summer economic boost

ATLANTA — Georgia officials say the tourism business is booming, bringing prosperity to the state even ahead of big events coming in 2025.

State officials say you may see more tourists around Georgia than ever before, and for them, it’s cause for celebration.

Jay Markwalter, the State Tourism Director for the Georgia Department of Economic Development told Channel 2′s Linda Stouffer that the summer tourism season was reporting record highs this year.

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For visitors with Georgia on their minds, there’s a lot to pick from, even if you’re staying outside of the metro Atlanta area.

“Small downtown experiences, mountains and lake experiences, as well as coasts and beach areas,” Markwalter said.

Markwalter said Explore Georgia is working to market the state to vacationers, and that the travel business in Georgia is back to its pre-pandemic levels and even setting new records.

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In 2022, Georgia welcomed 167 million domestic and international visitors, which supported more than 442,600 jobs n the state.

That made tourism one of the top industries in Georgia.

Big wins for the industry include huge soccer events like 2024′s Copa America and next year’s World Cup, which will be held in Atlanta.

“It certainly puts not just Atlant and metro Atlanta, but our entire state, on the global map, but also as an opportunity for economic impact,” Markwalter told Channel 2 Action News.

State officials are pitching Georgia as a place to stay for a while, whether you’re traveling for sports or business, and they want you to spend more of your travel dollars here.

“Stay longer and eat in our restaurants and shop in our shops and stay in our lodging, our wonderful lodging opportunities, and not just Atlanta but other regions of Georgia,” Markwalter said.

In terms of that spending level, visitors spent $39 billion in Georgia in 2022, according to the state.

One strategy that officials say is working for the Economic Development Team to keep that number growing is letting people know about areas outside of Atlanta that are ripe for experiences, like the Georgia coast, lakes and the mountains across the state.

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