ATLANTA – This year’s Georgia Travel Guild features two collectibles covers – zombies from the popular AMC series “The Walking Dead” and Georgia native Zac Brown on the other.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development partnered with the publisher of Atlanta Magazine to produce the official travel guide, which includes information about places to eat, cities statewide and popular attractions. More than 750,000 copies of the guide will be distributed to tourists via the state’s 11 Visitor Information Centers, at trade shows and through the state’s official tourism website.
The popular show, “The Walking Dead,” is filmed in Senoia, a town of about 3,400 located roughly 25 miles south of Atlanta. The town has served as the backdrop to more than 25 movies or television shows.
Zac Brown, a Georgia native, recently opened Southern Ground Social Club in the city’s downtown. The establishment is a store, restaurant and live music venue all in one.
“The exposure that we will get from people who have never heard of this town or have never been here will just be tremendous,” the Newnan Times-Herald quoted Suzanne Helfman, chair of the Senoia Downtown Development Authority, as saying. “We’re kind of on the radar of the state. That is why this all happened.”
Previous editions of the travel guide have featured Lady Antebellum and Paula Deen on the cover.
Tourism is big business in Georgia, and the state “now ranks seventh in the U.S. in both travel-generated employment and travel expenditures, second only to Florida in the Southeast,” according to Kevin Langston, deputy commissioner for tourism for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. In 2011, tourists generated $1.263 billion in tax revenues for the state, officials said.
“Georgia’s tourism industry is a main driver of our economy and employment with 10.3 percent of all jobs in the state directly or indirectly sustained by tourism activities,” Gov. Nathan Deal said in a release. “The tourism industry has a positive effect on nearly every community in Georgia.”
Thanks to a film tax credit the state legislature approved, Georgia has turned into a hotbed of filming. Among the dozens of movies filmed in Georgia are: “The Watch” starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller; “Joyful Noise” starring Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah; and “Trouble With the Curve” starring Clint Eastwood and Justin Timberlake.