ATHENS, GA (Feb. 8, 2019) – Tourism and arts professionals from Athens joined Governor Brian P. Kemp and other professionals from across Georgia for the annual Tourism, Hospitality & Arts Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, February 5 to recognize the record-breaking $63.1 billion impact on Georgia’s economy.

The Athens Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) Director, Chuck Jones and the Athens CVB Director of Marketing and Communications, Hannah Smith, were joined by Michael Lachowski from the Georgia Museum of Art and Elizabeth Hovell from the Georgia Center for Continuing Education to represent the Athens area.

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.

“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."

For Athens-Clarke County, visitors generated a total of $310.17 million in spending according to the “2017 Travel Economic Impact on Georgia State, Counties and Regions” study prepared for the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) by the United States Travel Association. Tourism in Athens-Clarke County supported 2,872 jobs with a $310.17 million payroll, as well as $21.24 million in local and state tax.

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.”


About GDEcD

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) plans, manages and mobilizes state resources to attract new business investment to Georgia, drive the expansion of existing industry and small business, locate new markets for Georgia products, inspire tourists to visit Georgia and promote the state as a top destination for arts events and film, music and digital entertainment projects. For more information, visit

About The Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau is a proactive sales and marketing organization whose primary goal is to increase the economic impact of the hospitality and visitor industry by attracting individual visitors, group tours and meetings and conventions to Athens. Tourism WORKS for Athens, contributing $310.17 million in spending, 2,872 jobs and $21.24 million in local and state tax revenue in 2017.