Gov.-Elect Brian Kemp meets supporters at a rally in Augusta. (Michael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle via AP, File)

Georgia gubernatorial candidate, Brian Kemp, continues to tout that he will make Georgia the number one state for small businesses.

On the campaign trail, Kemp visited a Hospitality and Tourism forum at the Annual Governor’s Tourism Conference speaking to Georgia’s tourism specialists and business people about making tourism stronger in Georgia.

Current tourism research in the state places the industry at $60.8 billion in revenue for 2017 while supporting more than 420,000 jobs. This is 11 percent of Georgia’s total payroll employment, according to the Department of Economic Development.

Kemp released the following statement about growing the tourism industry in Georgia and what he plans to do as Georgia’s next Governor.

“Without a growing – and diverse – tourism industry, small businesses across Georgia would fail, folks would lose their jobs, and communities would suffer,” said Kemp. “To make Georgia the #1 state for small business, it must lead in tourism.

“As governor, your industry will have a strong advocate and friend. That’s not campaign talk. You have my word.”

“When it comes to the budgeting process, we need to let the numbers – not the politics – determine how much we allocate for marketing and promotions,” Kemp proposed. “As you know, the Department of Economic Development reported that every dollar spent on marketing our state generated $11 in return. I call that a strong ROI and a big win for hardworking Georgians.”

To support rural Georgia – a fundamental component of Kemp’s campaign – he vowed to back agri-tourism, outdoor recreation, and Amendment One on the ballot this November.

“We are the leading producer of several crops like peanuts, spring onions, and blueberries. It’s time to take our Georgian Grown program to the International Stage and let the world know that our farms are worth the visit,” Kemp said. “Agri-tourism and Outdoor recreation do more than just boost sales. They make rural Georgia a destination and create economic development opportunities for cities, towns, and businesses along the way.

“That’s why I support efforts to protect our water and land and encourage you to vote YES on the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment this fall.”

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