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Tourism up, but can we trust the numbers?

     On May 9th, the Georgia Department of Economic Development announced that Georgia’s tourism industry generated a record-breaking $61.1 billion in business sales in 2016, up 3.5 percent over the previous year and 34 percent higher than its pre-recession level in 2008.

Visitor spending was estimated at $3.2 billion in state and local tax revenues. 

The state department gets its data from the U.S. Travel Association, which they pay to conduct annual Travel Economic Impact studies for Georgia. This study presents estimates of travel and its economic impact on Georgia at the state, region and county levels. 

Pickens County’s data was briefly presented at a government meeting earlier this year. According to the state’s 2015 report, Pickens  saw $29.31 million spent here by travelers in 2015; $4.4 million in travel generated payroll at local businesses and 230 travel-generated jobs; $1.12 million was generated in state tax; and $810,000 in local tax, all because of the travelers in the county.

       See full story in this week’s print or online editions. 

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