New bill to bring bigger, better tourism - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New bill to bring bigger, better tourism

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Georgia is looking to make tourism bigger and better after Governor Deal signed a bill Monday at Atlanta Motor Speedway to revamp tourist locations and build all new ones.

With the new bill, tourist spots like the Wild Adventures Water and Theme Park here in South Georgia can now get projects approved to expand and new attractions can move in to bring more tourists.

The legislation changes the procedures of the Georgia Tourism Development Act.

Under the new law each project is required to cost a minimum of 1 million dollars, attract 25 percent of visitors from out of state by the third year of business and not directly compete with other existing Georgia businesses.

The bill will allow sales tax exemptions for certain approved projects in order to encourage creation of tourism attractions or the expansion of existing ones.

Certain companies that build new attractions will be able to maintain a portion of their sales tax revenues for 10 years. 

Deal says the bill will also help create jobs for Georgians and take another step toward making our state the best place in the nation for business.

According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the tourism industry employed around 400 thousand Georgians in 2011.

Tourism also generated more than $49 billion in total economic impact for the state that year.

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