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Atlanta, GA – To celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, Governor Brian P. Kemp in conjunction with Explore Georgia, the state tourism office within the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), announced several new initiatives to increase visitation and support tourism recovery in the state. During a virtual event held at the Georgia Aquarium, Explore Georgia launched a new marketing campaign, 'Ready. Set. Georgia.,' unveiled the latest '2021 Explore Georgia Official State Travel Guide,' and highlighted $1 million in new grant and co-op opportunities for the tourism industry made possible by Governor Kemp's amended FY21 budget.

"As more people are vaccinated and eager to travel, tourism is a top priority for Georgia's economy, and I am committed to ensuring both its recovery and continued success. I was glad to approve an additional $1 million to support communities throughout the state to restart their tourism marketing after a year when their primary funding source was impacted dramatically," said Governor Kemp. "This will continue to bolster our recovery efforts, helping our state's tourism industry get back on its feet, and welcome more visitors to Georgia."

Georgia's tourism industry benefits local economies and small businesses across the state, and evidence shows that the state is beginning to see brighter days ahead. Because Georgia remained open for business in 2020, the state is in a stronger position than much of the United States as according to positive trends in recent weeks. National visitation data tracked by Arrivalist shows that total trips to or within the state were up 75% in March year-over-year and up 23% compared to Q1 2020.

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"Despite the challenges tourism has faced, our team at Explore Georgia found creative ways to promote safe travel to Georgia. With the support of Governor Kemp and our tourism partners across the state, we've been able to ensure that Georgia is in the best position possible as we begin recovery," said Pat Wilson, Commissioner of GDEcD. "All across the state, we are seeing evidence that tourism - despite the pandemic - has remained strong and will prosper for years to come."

'Ready. Set. Georgia.,' the state's new multimillion-dollar recovery marketing campaign, launches this week across a variety of digital and print media. Informed by traveler sentiment, the campaign highlights a mix of city, coastal, and small town destinations throughout the state, pairing iconic imagery with active calls to travelers to get out and explore.

In time for summer travel planning, the '2021 Explore Georgia Official Travel Guide' includes ideas for exploration throughout Georgia. Produced by Blue Sky Agency in Atlanta, the guide's cover features a call to action: EXPLORE. Within each letter, a photo - taken by actual Georgia travelers - provides a glimpse of the state's most beloved, inspiring, and unexpected destinations. The '2021 Explore Georgia Official Travel Guide' is produced in partnership with Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and is available for free. The guide can be requested online at ExploreGeorgia.org, by calling 1-800-VISIT GA, or at any of the state's nine Visitor Information Centers.

"Georgia's 'open for business' approach and success with vaccinations has given the travel industry the license to operate, meeting a steady increase in demand as travelers convert a year's worth of pent-up demand into solid travel plans," said Mark Jaronski, Deputy Commissioner of Tourism at GDEcD.

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Across the U.S., the travel industry is celebrating the annual National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), May 2-8, 2021. Through the theme Power of Travel, it shines a spotlight on the critical role that travel will play in driving economic recovery efforts and building the path forward. The celebration unites communities across the country, highlighting what travel means to American jobs, economic growth, and personal well-being.

"NTTW takes on a special significance this year as the travel industry looks to rebound quickly from the pandemic and accelerate recovery efforts," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "The past year was incredibly challenging, but we saw the full power of the travel industry on display in the way we united and supported one another through this crisis."

For more information about National Travel and Tourism Week, visit www.ustravel.org.

Media images and video: https://bit.ly/3xzaOtQstats

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