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Tourism industry at record levels in Hall
County ranks 12th in state in visitor spending
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Top counties in Georgia for visitor spending

1. Fulton $8.26 billion

2. Cobb $1.54 billion

3. Chatham $1.39 billion

4. Clayton $1.33 billion

5. DeKalb $1.28 billion

6. Gwinnett $1.17 billion

7. Richmond $506.69 million

8. Muscogee $420.46 million

9. Glynn $363.99 million

10. Bibb $328.37 million

11. Cherokee $290.77 million

12. Hall $282.85 million

13. Clarke $272.53 million  

Source: Georgia Department of Economic Development and U. S. Travel Association

The economic impact of Hall County’s tourism industry reached a record high of $282.9 million in 2014, according to the most recent report released this week by the Georgia Department of Economic Development and U. S. Travel Association.

And 90 new jobs were added in the tourism sector in 2014, a 3 percent increase.

Hotel occupancy rates have also hit record highs.

Hall County ranks 12th out of Georgia's 159 counties in visitor spending.

“We are closing the gap between us and No. 11 ranked Cherokee County, with only $7.92 million more in spending needed to pull even to this other North Georgia destination,” Stacey Dickson, president of the Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau, said. “Gainesville-Hall County is at the cusp of a potential hotel development boom.”

Rising further up the rankings will require the development of new hotels and attractions, she added.

Macon-Bibb County is ranked No. 10 for tourist spending in Georgia, pulling in an estimated a $45.52 million more than Hall.  

And tourism officials are also banking on more movie and television productions taking place in Hall.

Lanier Islands has been a key location in the county for several Hollywood movies in the past few years, including “Blended,” featuring Adam Sandler, which shot for 55 days here.

And recent shoots in downtown Gainesville include scenes for the recent release of “Creed,” which is part of the “Rocky” series.

“The next steps for Hall County to continue to lead in visitor spending involve further infrastructure investments by our existing and new industry partners,” Dickson said. “Continued development and expanded programming at Lanier Islands is another boost to the economy by attracting more and more new faces to the area.”