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May 3, 2014

Local offers show impact of travel and tourism

MILLEDGEVILLE — The first full week of May is annually recognized as National Travel and Tourism Week, a tradition first celebrated in 1984, established by a Congressional joint resolution passed in 1983.

To celebrate travel and tourism, the Milledgeville CVB will offer free historic trolley tours to locals through May 10. The trolley tour runs at 10 a.m., Monday through Friday and at 2 p.m on Saturday. The tours are first come, first serve and only run once daily.  

The Old Governor's Mansion is doing a bit of celebrating too. The Mansion is offering its pre-booked rate to locals at $7 per person 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.   

The U.S. travel community has collectively marked National Travel and Tourism Week in a number of creative ways, from staging local rallies and conducting media outreach to securing proclamations and resolutions from local legislative bodies. Each year, localized events are presented in cities, states and travel businesses nationwide to champion the power of travel.

“Travel and tourism is one of the most reliable generators of jobs at all levels of the American economy, including right here in Milledgeville. We aim to show the powerful role of travel in this community,” says Linda Bailey, Tourism & Events coordinator of the Milledgeville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Tourism is a driving force in Georgia. The tourism industry in Georgia is the fifth largest employer in the state with a total economic impact of $51.2 billion, supporting more than 400,000 jobs, or 10.2 percent of all payroll employment in Georgia. Taxes of $6.4 billion were directly and indirectly generated by tourism in 2012. Each household in Georgia would need to be taxed an additional $767 per year to replace the tourism taxes received by state and local governments.

Tourist activity in Baldwin County generated $58.83 million in direct tourist spending and produced $13.01 million in worker income and paychecks. Each Baldwin County household pays $205 less in local and state taxes due to direct tourism expenditures. Travel and tourism has brought in more than $2.27 million in tax revenue for Milledgeville, Baldwin County.  

“Today, we stand up for travel,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the umbrella organization representing the U.S. travel industry. “Travel is one of the country's biggest employers with more than 10 million Americans depending on this industry for their paychecks.  Everyday travel powers our economy in cities and states across the country.”

Studies from U.S. Travel Association show tourism continued to grow in 2013. Direct travel spending in the U.S. by domestic and international travelers grew 3.9 percent to $887.9 billion in 2013, not adjusted for inflation. Of this total, $748.3 billion was spent by domestic travelers (2.8 percent increase from 2012) and $139.6 billion was spent by international travelers in the U.S. (10.6 percent increase from 2012). In addition, international travelers paid a total of $41.1 billion to U.S. air carriers on international passenger fares in 2013, an increase of 4.5 percent from 2012.

In 2013, international travelers spent $139.6 billion in the U.S., up 10.6 percent over 2012. During the same year, Americans spent $86.2 billion in other countries. As a result, the U.S. travel and tourism industry generated a trade surplus of $53.3 billion in favor of the U.S.

Real travel and tourism spending (in chained 2005 dollars) increased 3.1 percent in 2013, an increase for the fourth consecutive year since 2010. Price for travel goods and services increase slightly in 2013 (0.9 percent), according to the U.S. Travel Association's Travel Price Index (TPI). Gasoline prices declined for the first year since 2010.

Travel directly supported nearly 7.9 million U.S. jobs, an increase of 2.4 percent from 2012. Travel-generated jobs accounted for 5.8 percent of total non-farm employment in the U.S. in 2013.

In 2013, travel expenditures directly generated $209 billion in payroll income for Americans, as well as $134 billion tax revenue for federal, state and local governments.

“In these times more than ever, everything we can do to support our travel and tourism industry helps Milledgeville,” said Bailey. “It is vital that we continue to remember the value of encouraging travel to our great destination and showing visitors all that it has to offer.”

 

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