GEORGIA ASSOCIATION OF CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAUS

2022 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

Advocating on behalf of Georgia's destination marketing and tourism industry, the Georgia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (GACVB) works with policymakers at all levels to promote and support tourism as a vital and powerful engine for economic growth and job creation. 

State Legislative Agenda & Policy Goals 

 Lodging Tax Policy

1.Protect Georgia’s lodging taxes for their intended use for destination marketing

Lodging taxes are paid by visitors from all marketing segments: leisure tourists and business travelers -– not by local residents. 
Lodging tax revenue is critical to effective destination marketing. Destination marketing organizations (DMOs) attract visitors that spend money at local businesses, including hotels, restaurants, tour companies, retail stores, etc. Visitor spending generates hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars in both local and state sales as well as lodging tax for communities. The lodging industry should collect and remit the appropriate level of lodging taxes as required by law. 
  • Destination marketing organizations should always be fully funded through lodging tax dollars to maintain and grow visitor spending in Georgia communities.
  • As the travel marketplace is changing rapidly, laws and policies need to keep pace. The shared economy has dramatically changed transportation through ride sharing, retail through online opportunities and accommodations by adding the option of short-term vacation rentals. Each new version of these categories must be regulated equitably and held to the same taxation standards as traditional businesses.
  • Local governments must limit use of lodging taxes to their acceptable uses and should not be allowed to redirect those funds for other purposes.

Tourism Promotion

2.Prioritize and increase investment in Georgia’s tourism marketing

Tourism declines when tourism marketing is not adequately supported and funded.  When tourism declines communities suffer. The tourism industry generates revenue and creates jobs that ensures success for Georgia – but not without investment. A robust, comprehensive, statewide tourism marketing campaign will keep Georgia competitive. The state's tourism marketing budget currently ranks last in the Southeast. 

  • Appropriately fund Explore Georgia, the Tourism Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development to ensure economic success for Georgia. 
  • Encourage the State to prioritize tourism marketing. 

Welcoming Environment 

3.Oppose discriminatory legislation

In Georgia, discrimination is not allowed or condoned for any reason, at any time.  There have been efforts to promote and pass what are known as religious freedom bills, also known as RFRA. Such legislation is not necessary because freedom to practice religion is already protected by the United States Constitution and has been upheld in numerous judicial decisions. RFRA legislation is often perceived as a means for discrimination. Legislation that discriminates can lead to the economic loss from large events and businesses that will go elsewhere rather than supporting state-sanctioned discrimination.

  • Serve as a voice of opposition of any legislation that allows or condones discrimination in Georgia.

 

Federal Legislative Priorities 

Advocate for Tourism! 

Bolster Tourism’s Voice Among Federal Legislators

  • GACVB is committed to educating members of Congress on the economic importance of travel and tourism at the local, state, and national levels. GACVB encourages all members of the Georgia congressional delegation to join the Congressional Travel & Tourism Caucus as a resource for information and collaboration on key issues impacting the tourism sector.
  • GACVB serves as the Georgia State Chair for the annual Southeast Tourism Society (STS) Congressional Summit on Travel & Tourism