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During the recent 2022 Georgia Governor's Tourism Conference in Athens, Governor Brian P. Kemp applauded Georgia's tourism industry for attracting pre-pandemic levels of domestic visitors after the recent release of the state's 2021 travel data compiled by Explore Georgia, the tourism division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

"I am proud to announce that Georgia maintained our No. 5 market share rank for domestic overnight visitation in 2021, a critically important achievement for our state's economy and a testament to the competitiveness of our state's tourism industry," said Governor Kemp. "Because Georgia led the nation in a measured reopening, the leisure sector of our tourism economy continues to lead in rebounding, and our travel industry is well-positioned for future growth and success. I want to recognize our state tourism office for working with my administration to use relief funds I directed its way and generate the highest return on investment from tourism marketing in our state's recent history."

In 2021, Georgia travel and tourism generated a total economic impact of $64.5 billion and supported more than 422,600 jobs. Thomas County's numbers included:

  • $76.8 million in total visitor spending
  • 845 jobs directly supported by tourism
  • $6.2 million in state and local taxes generated by visitors, which equals an approximate $347 in tax savings per household

"Coming out of the pandemic, we knew visitors would be a little hesitant to travel, but Thomasville was fortunate that tourism rebounded faster than in most other cities in Georgia," noted Bonnie Hayes, Director of Tourism Development for the City of Thomasville. "Because our city has so many outdoor activities and dining options, and people don't have to use public transportation to get to their destination, we didn't have the disruptions that some of the larger Georgia communities experienced."

Hayes noted that until now, 2019 was the best year for Thomasville tourism. 2021 data has surpassed that marker by 15%, even coming out of a pandemic. Visitor spending in 2019 was $66.9 million, compared to $76.8 million in 2021.

Local city-sponsored events such as First Friday Sip and Shops, Thomasville's Rose Show and Festival, and Victorian Christmas help drive tourism to the area. Attractions such as Pebble Hill, the Jack Hadley Black History Museum, and the Lapham Patterson House also attract visitors year-round.

Recent promotions, including "Treat Yourself in Thomasville" and the Downtown Summer Loyalty Card, helped push tourism during the summer months.

"The recent 'Treat Yourself in Thomasville' campaign slogan we created to span the summer months was one that we felt showcased what our locals and visitors think when they experience all the unique businesses and attractions across the City," said Hayes. "They tell us they feel like they've found something special – like a treat – and it makes the moment more memorable."

Thomasville's tourism leaders are now focusing on the holidays, creating no shortage of things for locals and visitors to do for the remainder of the year to continue increasing tourism numbers throughout 2022.

"We are certainly turning our attention toward December and Victorian Christmas, our largest event each year," noted Madison Eaton, Tourism and Events Manager for the City of Thomasville. “We want to continue to bring visitors to our city throughout the full month of December so that is why you are likely to see ads for 'Christmas in Thomasville', which we hope will entice more visitors to make Thomasville their destination for shopping and having fun during the holiday months.”

To find out about upcoming events in Thomasville, visit or contact the Thomasville Visitors Center at 229-228-7977.


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