Gov. Nathan Deal announced that domestic and international visitors spent $21 billion in Georgia in 2010, up 8.3 percent from 2009, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
More than 233,800 jobs are directly attributed to the tourism industry accounting for $6.8 billion in payroll in 2010. The increase in visitor spending contributed $1.56 billion in state and local tax revenue to Georgia. Every Georgia household benefited from state and local tax savings of $459 as a result of the tourism industry’s tax contribution.
“Georgia’s tourism industry plays a vital role in our economic prosperity and improving the quality of life for all Georgians,” Deal said. “In a challenging economic climate, tourism has been a source of strength as more and more people discover what Georgia has to offer.”
The number of international travelers to Georgia increased 19 percent in 2010, with expenditures up by 15 percent to $2.1 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel & Tourism Industries. Georgia’s increase in inbound international travel was the fourth-highest volume change in the United States. Nevada and Washington tied for first with a 32 percent increase, while California was third with an increase of 21 percent. Georgia now ranks second in the Southeast behind only Florida, and 12th among other U.S. states for international inbound travel.
According to 2010 Visa Vue data, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Brazil and Germany are the top five countries of origin among those visiting Georgia.
Domestic travel expenditures also increased 7.6 percent, reaching $18.9 billion during the same time period and ahead of the national growth rate of 7.4 percent.
In September, Deal will host the annual Georgia Governor’s Tourism Conference in Macon with more than 400 tourism industry professionals. The conference educates members of the tourism industry about travel and tourism-related issues.