Despite what you might hear about the economy in other parts of the country, the outlook for tourism in Georgia is bright, in fact tourism spending is up 19% over last year and the outlook continues to be bright for a strong 2012.
The general press might be quick to point out some negative factors impacting overall spending, but in Georgia we are seeing robust tourism revenue gains. 2011 Hotel occupancy is up 5.53% statewide. Room demand is up by 3.2 million rooms, another 8.9% increase and the average daily room rate for all of Georgia is up 2.8% to $79.56, slightly ahead of the national average.
What’s making our region such a strong performer? Pretty simple really, Georgia’s a great place to visit and populated with friendly folks who understand tourism and go out of their way to make them feel welcome. Georgia’s image strength among recent visitors also suggests a travel experience that’s good for the entire family, a rich history with a diversity of historic assets and a lot of just plain fun things to see and do. Nearly three quarters of Georgia visitors experienced historic areas/attractions/landmarks or museums while on their trip. So all those efforts by civic and business groups to save endangered local historic assets and turn them into attractions is paying a strong dividend.
Another piece of good news, is when folks come, they tend to stay longer. Total duration of a Georgia trip is longer than the national norm consisting of 2.5 nights in Georgia and nearly two nights travelling to and from a destination. 46% of Georgia visitors spent at least some time in Atlanta while 24% got to the Coast. But the dispersion of travel spending is spread all over the state as visitors drive from one place to another. Proximity and ease of access is another plus for tourist trying to pack their “stay-cation” with as much value as possible. There’s a lot to see and do in Atlanta and if you ever get bored with that, within an hour or two driving distance from Atlanta or Jekyll Island there’s a lot of beautiful scenery, historic attractions and one-of-a-kind experiences that make Georgia a first-choice travel destination.