Sumter County's tourism booming - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sumter County's tourism booming

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September 25, 2006

Sumter County--Tourism is growing rapidly in Sumter County. Last year, visitors pumped about $40 million into the local economy, that's up nearly $10 million from the previous year.

News 10 takes us to Sumter County to show us why it's number one in south Georgia for attracting visitors.

Boarded up shacks made of tin and wood, it's an attraction you'll find only in Sumter County.

"When the people walk through, they're horrified to see that people are living eight to twelve people in one room," says Rosemary Kelly.  She serves as a tour guide for Habitat for Humanity's Global village. The site attracts thousands of tourists each year.

"We get people from all over the world and all over the United States," she says.

"We're actually on our anniversary vacation through the area," says John Foulk. It's this unique site in the county that inspired John and DeAn Foulk from Florida to visit Americus for the first time.

"We're impressed with some of the homes, the landscaping, the architecture, there's obviously some history here," says Foulk.

"Without tourism, I don't think Georgia would survive," says Chuck Nolan, the county's tourism council president.  He says the area is a hot spot for tourism because there's plenty to see and do.

"We've got Andersonville, we've got Plains, Jimmy Carter, Habitat For Humanity," he says.

And tourists are visiting the area more than ever.

"This year, we had 90,000 at Andersonville, 55,000 for Jimmy Carter, 15,000 for the train," says Nolan.

As more tourists travel to the county, that means more dollars are rolling into the area's economy.

For Kelly, it's an opportunity to show outsiders exactly what Sumter County is all about.

"Come to Georgia, come and see us!" she says.

Sumter County generates much of its revenue from its hotel and motel tax. So far this year, the tax has brought in about $5,000 dollars more this year than last year.

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