ATLANTA (WSAV) — A new economic report – prepared by Tourism Economics – shows Georgia’s tourism industry has peaked at an all-time high.

Economists say with the world’s busiest airport and large sporting events including the masters, and major conferences, Georgia draws in tourists and visitors – since it has access to beaches, mountains and major cities.

New economic data shows direct visitor expenditures totaled nearly $33 billion dollars last year in Georgia – up 15% – peaking at pre-pandemic levels. When including induced and indirect impacts, total visitor spending came to a record-breaking $39.8 billion in 2022.

According to Explore Georgia, a bulk of that spending came from transportation, followed by food and beverage, lodging, retail and recreational spending.

Georgia political and economic expert Bill Crane said, “Additional hotel traffic,  you will have additional spend vacation time here, and we got news that Georgia is one of 50 states in terms of tourism dollars including sports like Braves, Hawks, Falcons – we are a sports town.”

He continued, “The FIFA World Cup will draw more fans, TV dollars and a larger global audience than the Olympics and Final Four combined.”

In just six years, Georgia’s total visitor spending has increased by $5.6 billion dollars, with only a dip in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Brian Kemp said the state saw nearly 170 million domestic and international visitors last year who brought in nearly $40 billion dollars in spending that supported more than 442,600 jobs.

“We continue to rank highly in logistics, infrastructure, and DOT maintaining our reliable highways and the Georgia Ports to step up supply chain and connecting to global markets,” Kemp said. 

For the 3rd year in a row, Georgia ranks 5th in the country– for domestic overnight visits.

Georgia’s tourism revenue is likely to increase with the state hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup and new talks of a $2 billion dollar hockey and entertainment arena coming to Forsyth County rivaling the battery.