Travel matters, and it improves Columbia County in ways that have a wide-reaching impact on our residents. Travel supports nearly 1,200 jobs in our community, and has an impact that we do not always see: travel can strengthen families, foster hometown pride, and build bridges that connect us with one another.

At the national level, travel is critical to the U.S. economy and American jobs. As a leader in workforce development and career advancement–travel creates and supports 15.7 million jobs across the U.S.– making it the seventh-largest private sector employer. In 2018, traveler spending generated $171 billion in total tax revenue, including $78.6 billion in state and local revenue. That $78.6 billion can pay for a host of critical resources: it’s more than enough to pay all state and local police and firefighters, or the more than one million public high school teachers.

Travel is powerful for cities and states, and Columbia County is no exception. Columbia County is ranked 27th out of 159 counties in Georgia for tourism expenditures and generates $138 million in direct tourism spending. Each Columbia County household saves $210 per year thanks to taxes generated by tourism.

Those are only a few reasons why it’s so important to keep welcoming visitors to Columbia County—and why our industry is elevating the message of “Travel Matters” during National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) May 5-11. We encourage you to join us in observing NTTW this year, and celebrate all that travel does for Columbia County, and for our country as a whole.