Tourism is BIG business in Georgia. It is a $57 billion industry and is the #5 employer in the state. Opportunities for visitors to Georgia range from the North Georgia Mountains to Georgia’s Atlantic coastal beach communities to the major league sports, events, shopping and restaurants of Metro Atlanta. Georgia has several major interstate highways that bisect it, carrying enormous volumes of traffic from the upper midwest and eastern seaboard south to Florida. Most of this traffic drives through the state with minimal stopping. Because of the state’s proximity to resort areas in Florida, Alabama and South Carolina, many Georgians travel to those states rather than vacationing in their home state. We were challenged to grow in-state tourism by 1) encouraging Georgians to visit tourist destinations and attractions in their own state, and 2) encouraging travelers passing through on the major arteries to stop and spend some time in Georgia.
We created “Georgia Getaways,” a program that featured interesting places to visit in each of Georgia’s 11 tourism regions. We partnered with Atlanta TV station WAGA Fox5 to produce a series of 11 “Georgia Getaways” vignettes, one for each of the 11 tourism regions. These aired in Fox5’s “Good Day Atlanta” morning program over a 13 week period. We created a custom web site that repurposed the “Georgia Getaways” videos and also contained driving maps and travel information on historic sites, attractions, activities, restaurants and lodging. We developed an experiential program that utilized hostesses in each of the major Georgia rest areas along the interstates that would interact with travelers and give them specific information on potential places to eat, stay, stop or visit. During the key vacation period, Georgia Tourism enjoyed a 5.6% increase while neighboring states were flat or down.