Governor's Tourism Conference wraps up in Savannah Wednesday - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Governor's Tourism Conference wraps up in Savannah Wednesday

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Wednesday wrapped up the Georgia Governor’s Tourism Conference in Savannah, the first time the Hostess City has hosted the event.

It brought together hundreds of tourism professionals from all over the state.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal stopped by Wednesday and praised the state’s tourism industry in developing economic growth and emphasized that this past year was a record breaking year for Georgia's tourism industry, raising billions of dollars.

"There have been a few that have raised concerns about it. I've actually had a few across the state say don't worry about that, we are not losing any business and we are willing to make that contribution as a part of our share. It's about 158 million anticipated revenue from that one source, out of a $1.2 billion piece of legislation. So it's a small piece of the transportation overall budget, but it's an important piece,” said Gov. Deal. 

Portions of the billions in revenue generated by the tourism industry go toward infrastructure projects, like highway repairs and maintenance. And the tax revenue from the tourism industry generated locally, like through hotel tax, goes right back into area projects around the city, like park maintenance, at least part of it.  

"You're part of the state of Georgia just like everybody else. And the revenue that comes into the state coffers is distributed back on the number of bases, first of all population and other distribution programs that we have, the way we spend our state tax dollars,” said Gov. Deal. "There have been a few that have raised concerns about it. I've actually had a few across the state say don't worry about that, we are not losing any business and we are willing to make that contribution as a part of our share. It's about 158 million anticipated revenue from that one source, out of a $1.2 billion piece of legislation. So it's a small piece of the transportation overall budget, but it's an important piece.” 

The Savannah Chamber of Commerce, the Savannah Economic Development Authority and other tourism leaders help determine where the tourism money goes locally.

"We get the tourism dollars as they are coming in, but they are shared, it shared money. So that's why we are out here promoting tourism for the good of Savannah and then for the good of Georgia,” said Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson.   

Visit Savannah received an award and was recognized for their efforts as part of the state's tourism industry.

The governor also spoke about tapping into the foreign tourist market, saying there needs to be an effort in getting visitors from China, who spent more than $100 billion abroad last year.

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