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Tourism alive in Dawson County

POSTED: February 4, 2009 4:00 a.m.

Dawson County officials traveled to the state capital last week to put a spotlight on Georgia’s and the county’s second largest industry.


Gov. Sonny Perdue proclaimed Jan. 27 Tourism Day in Georgia, which ranks eighth in the nation for tourism’s total economic impact, bringing in more than $1.5 billion a year in tax revenues. Tourism is also responsible for 241,800 jobs in Georgia.


“I’m excited that Gov. Perdue has declared today Tourism Day,” said Dawsonville Republican Sen. Chip Pearson, chairman of the Senate Economic Development Committee.


“It’s good to know that this industry in Georgia is continuing to make a positive impact,” he said.


In Dawson County alone, tourism revenues generated from businesses such as Burt’s Pumpkin Farm, which sees an estimated 250,000 visitors each fall, and the North Georgia Premium Outlet mall, with 6 million shoppers each year, account for about $35 million in direct benefit to the county, said Marty Williams, vice president of travel and tourism for the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce.


Tourism dollars in Dawson County were up by 9.6 percent in 2008, Williams said, 3.8 percent higher than the state’s average.


Williams credits an aggressive marketing approach to tourism by the convention and visitors bureau, as well as the need for low cost, nearby “day-cations,” where Georgians can drive for a few hours, spend the day enjoying the tourism amenities and drive home at night.


The latest marketing campaign focuses on a regional approach, showcasing opportunities for hiking, shopping, fishing, canoeing and “communing with kangaroos.”


Williams said the visitors bureau plans to spend approximately $71,000 in 2009 to market Dawson County with funds generated by hotel/motel taxes.


E-mail Michele Hester at


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