Governor Brian Kemp spoke today in Lagrange for the Georgia Governor’s Tourism Conference.
The conference hosted hundreds of political and tourism leaders to network and discuss tourism industry expansion.Kemp mentioned tourism as the key piece to Georgia’s success that helps strengthen the state’s economy.
He adds there were over 100 million visitors that visited Georgia this year — spending a total of 31 billion dollars.
Kemp recognized contributors to Georgia’s tourism industry. President and C-E-O of Visit Columbus Peter Bowden was recognized and awarded The Tom Kilgore Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bowden says he was surprised to have received the award and that it was a humbling experience.
“I was shocked, surprised, obviously. You think about all the folks that potentially could have received that, that were at the meeting at our governor’s conference. I am just speechless to say the least,” Bowden said.
Tom Kilgore was the legislator from Douglasville and an early advocate of tourism. Kilgore was one of the architects of the Hotel/Motel Tax legislation.
In 2011, the Governor’s Tourism Conference Lifetime Achievement Award and the GACVB Tom Kilgore Award were combined to form the current Tom Kilgore Lifetime Achievement Award.
Here is a list of the past winners:
- 2018 Tyron Spearman, Tifton-Tift County Tourism Association
- 2017 Bill Chapin – See Rock City, Inc.
- 2016 Ellen Archer, Cartersville-Bartow County CVB
- 2014 Dotty Etris, Historic Roswell CVB
- 2013 Bruce Green, Georgia Department of Economic Development
- 2012 Ginger Taylor, Retired, GDEcD
- 2011 Jeannie Buttrum, Classic South Regional Representative
Bowden has been with Visit Columbus since 1995 and has worked on many projects to help enhance tourism in Columbus. He says the daily goal for his team is to make a difference.
Peter Bowden, President/CEO of Visit Columbus, answers why he wanted to be part of Visit Columbus and the tourism industry: