GEORGIA – June 2, 2021 – Governor Brian P. Kemp in partnership with Explore Georgia, the state tourism office within the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), today announced the recipients of a special round of Tourism Recovery Marketing Grants. The Explore Georgia Tourism Recovery Marketing Grant program supports marketing efforts to bolster the recovery of Georgia’s tourism industry from the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty-four destination marketing organizations in 27 counties will receive a combined total of nearly $1.5 million in recovery marketing funding as part of this one-time grant program.
Governor Kemp and the Georgia General Assembly approved $1 million in the amended FY21 state budget for tourism recovery. Because of the substantial number of grant applications – from 58 organizations totaling nearly $2.5 million in funding requests – Explore Georgia contributed an additional $1 million from the state tourism marketing budget to fund as many grants as possible. The Explore Georgia Tourism Recovery Marketing program also includes $500,000 in co-op matching funds, for a total of $2 million in recovery support.
“A prospering tourism industry creates hundreds of thousands of jobs and positively impacts the health and vitality of our state’s economy. I’m proud to support our hardworking tourism organizations across the state through this recovery funding,” said Governor Kemp. “The tourism and hospitality community needs our support more than ever, and this funding will provide the immediate marketing assistance they need to make sure that Georgia is on the minds of eager travelers.”
The Explore Georgia Tourism Recovery Marketing Grant program was designed to provide relief to areas of the state most impacted by the drop in tourism and will fund promotional efforts to aid the travel industry’s recovery in 2021. The grants awarded have prioritized organizations and communities that have experienced the greatest impact from the loss of visitors and subsequent tourism spending during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Georgia is a beautiful state and as we continue to recover, I look forward to working alongside our industry partners to promote the state’s incredible tourism assets to travelers across the globe,” said Pat Wilson, commissioner of GDEcD. “These grants are an important tool for our industry organizations, the majority of which are small businesses, to begin their recovery efforts. We are dedicated to rebuilding travel and tourism across our state because Georgia’s diverse economy cannot fully recover until our tourism and hospitality industry is thriving once again.”
According to the latest Longwoods International tracking study of American travelers, 90% of travelers now have travel plans in the next six months, which is the highest level in more than a year. Explore Georgia focused on funding marketing programs that can be quickly activated and placed in-market to capture this anticipated increase to take advantage of this opportunity.
“As we head into a summer when we expect to see a tremendous reemergence of domestic tourism and the economic prosperity that travel brings, the funding of these grants recognizes the importance of communicating the diversity of visitor experiences across Georgia that are close to home for so many Americans,” said Mark Jaronski, deputy commissioner of tourism at GDEcD. “Thanks to a great working relationship with our destination marketing partners across the state, we believe that we can be most effective in what’s expected to be an incredibly competitive landscape by marketing Georgia to the American public together and complementing the state’s tourism recovery campaign Ready. Set. Georgia.”
The applications were evaluated based on need, quantified by the year-over-year loss in Hotel-Motel Excise Tax collections for the organization, and the change in unemployment in the organization’s county. Grant recipients received 100% of the award amount requested on their applications.
Click here to view the recipients of the Tourism Recovery Marketing Grants.
About Explore Georgia
Explore Georgia, the tourism division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development is the state’s official destination marketing organization. Through its home office in Atlanta, nine visitor information centers across Georgia, and a network of tourism representatives across the globe, Explore Georgia inspires travel to and within the state through marketing programs developed and executed in partnership with the state’s travel industry. The division works to advance Georgia’s tourism industry that represented $69 billion and supported more than 484,000 jobs in 2019. Learn more at ExploreGeorgia.org.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state’s sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a destination for arts and location for film, music, and digital entertainment projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. Visit www.georgia.org for more information.