Tourism industry increases in Dougherty County -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Tourism industry increases in Dougherty County

Twenty one billion dollars, that's what travelers spent in Georgia in 2010.

That's an increase of 8.3% over the previous year.

State and local leaders hope Georgia's tourism industry will continue to grow.

More than 230,000 jobs are directly attributed to the Georgia tourism industry, accounting for 6.8 billion dollars in payroll in 2010.

Tourism is also important to the economy right here in Dougherty County.

Williemae Riggins has worked at the comfort suites on Dawson road for the last 6 years, and she says people go out of their way to visit Albany for the family feeling of the town.

"I have guests all the time say 'I could have just taken 75 all the way down and stayed at another hotel, but I've heard so much about Albany, I've heard so much about the area, so I just wanted to come see what it was all about," says Williemae Riggins, Marketing Sales Director of Comfort Suites.

She says that tourism plays a vital role in our economic prosperity and she has seen the positive impact first hand.

"People that come in tend to tell someone else and that brings more people," says Riggins.

 Albany Convention and visitors bureau director Lisa Riddle, says tourism improves the lives of Georgians.

"We have over 200 jobs that are tourism related in Dougherty county and these people come in to town and spending their money here save us on our tax dollars that we pay every year," says Lisa Riddle, Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau Director.

To be exact each Georgia household saves about five-hundred-eighteen dollars on taxes because of tourism revenue.

"Tourism is a very important part of our business here, we like to think we are the crown jewel of Albany and the Albany area. We've had over 450,000 visitors since we've opened and a significant number of these are tourists from outside of this area," says Sanders Lewallen, CEO of The Flint RiverQuarium.

Flint RiverQuarium leaders hope they won't lose visitors after losing 50,000 dollars in funding from the county.

"We received nothing from the county this year, we will just have to make that up someway," says Lewallen.

Riddle says it is important for everyone to support our local attractions.

"If they are here then that gives us something else to draw people from outside to come visit or relocate here," says Riddle.

Riggins agrees and hopes to keep increasing tourism dollars spent.

"We just don't want to stop with where we are today, we want to continue to grow," says Riggins.

Because continuing to grow, keeps more money in your pocket.


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