From charming small towns to the biggest cities in the world, tourism is so much more than just going on a vacation. Despite some setbacks, the tourism industry has grown over the years. It helps introduce people to new places all over the world, bringing economic and job benefits, cultural education and much more, including building up the places we call home.
Here in Valdosta, tourism is essential to building a strong city. It enhances the quality of life in the area by bringing new destinations and attractions, it generates tax revenue and creates jobs. To help support the rise of tourism in Lowndes County, Visit Valdosta launched a new campaign last year, Valdostahhh. The ‘ahhh’ represents the wide variety of exciting moments visitors and locals alike can experience in our backyard – from screaming ‘ahhh’ on a rollercoaster at Wild Adventures to the relaxing ‘ahhh’ moments sitting back by the fire enjoying a locally brewed beer.
We launched this campaign to support our county, our home. We have already begun to see how tourism can enhance the quality of life for local residents. Just last year, the Unity Park Amphitheater opened, introducing a new venue for us to gather, celebrate and enjoy music or performances. This year, we are excited to plan the first-ever Valdosta Bluesberry Festival, a 2-day blueberry, blues and brews festival for visitors and local community members to enjoy. Events like this wouldn’t be possible without continued interest from tourists.
Tourism not only brings new events and destinations to the area for everyone to enjoy, but it also has an undeniable impact on the local economy and workforce. Each year, millions of people travel across the country for vacations, meetings and conventions or to visit family and friends. Valdosta is no different. While we wait for the 2022 data to come in, Explore Georgia reports that in 2021, we saw over $389 million in tourism spending in Lowndes County, which also relates to the 7 percent of jobs being sustained by visitor spending. You might be wondering how this impacts residents even more directly – in 2021, $30 million in visitor generated state and local taxes were equivalent to $701 in tax savings for every household.
The future of tourism is bright and Valdosta has so much to offer. From adventurous destinations like Wild Adventures and the Valdosta Wake Compound, to relaxing experiences like Downtown Social and Georgia Beer Co., and even our countless local state parks and golf courses, there is a destination right here in our backyard for everyone to enjoy. And there are more on the way!