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Bill Hardman Tourism Champion - Product Development Award Goes to Georgia Grown Trail 37

  • Posted on: September 3, 2015
Bill Hardman Tourism Champion - Product Development Award Goes to Georgia Grown Trail 37

Georgia Grown is proud to announce that the Georgia Grown Trail 37 was recognized with the Bill Hardman Tourism Champion-Product Development Award at the Governor's Tourism Conference held on September 2, 2015. The trail has been a joint effort of the Center of Innovation in Agriculture, Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) regional tourism project manager Amanda Peacock, GDEcD tourism division staff, state representatives, Department of Agriculture staff, LEM marketing group, and many local chambers, convention and visitor bureaus and private agritourism organizations.

The Georgia Grown Trail runs east to west in South Georgia from Homerville, midway between Waycross and Valdosta, across I-75 to Moultrie, home of the world-famous Sunbelt Expo, taking a NW turn in Camilla and ending at Fort Gaines, just below the Walter F. George Dam at the Alabama line. It stretches 157 miles of beautiful Georgia scenic Highways and goes through nine Georgia counties: Clay, Calhoun, Baker, Mitchell, Colquitt, Cook, Berrien, Lanier and Clinch. The Georgia Grown Trail was designed to highlight all of the amazing agriculture-related tourism hot spots. U-pick farms, dairies, vineyards and wineries, farm tours, B&Bs, restaurants using local and regional products and specialty food stores are all included.

At the 2015 Georgia Governor’s Tourism Conference in Savannah, Gov. Nathan Deal recognized several of the state’s top tourism professionals. The annual industry event, hosted by the GDEcD and the Georgia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau, brought together more than 500 tourism industry professionals from across the state.

“The tourism industry is a powerful economic generator, employing more than 425,000 Georgians and creating a record economic impact of $57.1 billion,” Governor Deal said. “This indicates that Georgia is on the minds of travelers around the world and we thank our tourism professionals for their diligence, innovation and dedication.”

The full list of 2015 award recipients, nominated by the Georgia tourism industry, include:

The Bill Hardman Sr. Tourism Champion in Government Award was presented to First Lady Sandra Deal for her support of Georgia Tourism and Georgia State Parks.
The Bill Hardman Sr. Tourism Champion Product Development Award was awarded to the Georgia Grown Trail 37.
The Bill Hardman Sr. Tourism Champion Private Sector Award was awarded to Jon Brasher from Atlanta Magazine Custom Media.
The Bill Hardman Sr. Tourism Champion Partnership Award was presented to the Golden Isles CVB.
The Paul Broun Award for Marketing Initiatives was awarded to Visit Savannah for video content marketing.
The Larry Allen Tourism Leadership Award was presented to Rashelle Beasley from the Albany Convention and Visitor Bureau.

The Al Burris Award for Creative Expression was awarded to Discover DeKalb for their new destination guide.

The Paul Nelson Award for Outdoor Recreation and Preservation was awarded to the PATH Foundation for their work on improving Georgia’s trails.

 “The tourism industry has a positive effect on the growth and development of nearly every community in Georgia,” said GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr. “It’s our tourism assets that make Georgia a great place to live and do business.”

The Governor’s Tourism Conference educates members about the tourism industry on a national and statewide level. Its focus includes reinforcing current tourism efforts and identifying emerging and future trends. The 2016 conference will take place Sept. 11 – Sept. 14 in College Park.