The Georgia Department of Economic Development's 2014 International VIP Tour kicked off its three-day trip around 10 Georgia counties Wednesday.
The City of Milledgeville and Baldwin County was the second stop for influential leaders from 26 countries. Local leaders networked with the Georgia Consular Corps, who attained a unique perspective of the culture, economy and overall Georgia character outside of Atlanta they might have not otherwise seen.
The International VIP Tour is the only event that brings the bulk of Atlanta's diplomatic community together with Georgians in communities such as Covington, Greensboro, Thomson, Augusta and Athens.
The VIP guests were welcomed to Milledgeville-Baldwin County by a local delegation of elected officials, representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, Development Authority, Convention & Visitors Bureau, Milledgeville Main Street, Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority and the Oconee River Greenway.
Georgia Military College hosted a memorable luncheon in the Legislative Chambers of the Old Capitol Building, where guests received a community presentation from Chamber CEO April Bragg.
The international liaisons enjoyed a special GMC Cadet welcome to campus.
Paul Gleeson, Consul General of Ireland, said the GMC hello off the tour bus was “something we've never received anywhere before.”
Canadian Consul General Stephen Brereton has worked in Atlanta for nearly five years and made his first Milledgeville visit Wednesday.
“It's a wonderful first time opportunity to learn what a great city and opportunities are here for us,” Brereton said. “We got a chance to see the very warm hospitality of people here. It was wonderful to have.”
The group then experienced the Milledgeville's historic downtown though a guided walking tour traveling to the Governor's Mansion for an international reception and tour hosted by Georgia College and their Department of International Business.
Gleeson said the VIP Tour offers avenues to promote cultural and educational connections in Georgia cities like Milledgeville.