Not seeing images? View the web version
COVID-19 Update from Explore Georgia

During National Travel & Tourism Week, we saw numerous examples of the tourism industry’s strength and resiliency that defined this year’s theme: the Spirit of Travel. Even through hardship, you showed so many inspiring and creative acts of generosity and positivity, proving the spirit of travel is unshaken.  

From Southern Soul Barbeque donating more than $100,000 to Golden Isles restaurant workers through their Firebox Initiative, to Roswell’s Table & Main initiating their Table & Aid program to provide 150 meals daily to the food insecure, multiple restaurants have stepped up and supported their community even during crisis. Callaway Gardens installed “Lights for Lifesavers” at Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital to honor health care workers. And, Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton-Jekyll Island gave away a Jekyll Island Dream Vacation to a lucky Georgia nurse during National Nurses Week. Across the state, we have banded together to support our community, our industry and each other.

We are constantly amazed by the many ways you continue to keep Georgians on your mind.

Please continue to share your examples with Sarah Anne Steadman, manager of partner engagement, at so we can recognize all of our incredible partners.

Documenting Event and Convention Cancellations
The Explore Georgia team recognizes that this crisis has severely impacted the convention/group and festival business, with scores of conferences and special events cancelling since March. To better understand the full economic loss across the state, we’re asking you to send us information on any event, festival, group, conference, wedding, or other large-scale program that was canceled and did not reschedule due to COVID-19 (March 15, 2020, forward). If events or conferences have rescheduled to a later date, please share that, as well.

We encourage you to use the Explore Georgia Event Impact Calculator to help determine the cancellation cost to your organization and/or community. (Note to first time users: you will need to request access to this tool. There is also a training webinar available.)

When sharing your canceled or rescheduled program, please include as many of the following details as available: Name of event/conference, original date, rescheduled date, location (city, county), number of attendees, number of room nights, and projected economic loss.

Please send your information by May 29 to Lacey Cameron, global market development senior manager, at If you have any questions or need additional instruction, please contact Lacey at 770-362-4230.
VIC Update
The state Visitor Information Centers remain closed until further notice. Our Visitor Services team is currently preparing a reopening plan to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff. In keeping with the Governor’s guidelines, our staff is securing the necessary supplies and materials to provide a healthy environment for all. As soon as a date for reopening is confirmed, an announcement will be made.

Please note, as a measure of caution and respect for our partners’ current situation, we have canceled the 2020 series of Georgia on My Mind Days. Dates for 2021 will be released later this year.

If you have any questions or need additional information about the VICs or RVICs, please contact Brittney Gray, director of visitor services, at or at 678-640-4338.
Recovery Resources
PPE Suppliers: As many businesses begin addressing criteria to reopen and safety procedures to ensure the health of customers and staff, the Georgia Department of Economic Development has developed a listing of hundreds of Georgia suppliers providing PPE, including hand sanitizer and masks.

EAA Grants: As of May 7, $1.5 billion is now available through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. CARES Act Recovery Assistance Grants, under the authority’s Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, are intended to be flexible and responsive to the economic development needs and priorities of local and regional stakeholders. EAA Strategy and Implementation Grants can help fund market and environmental studies, planning or construction grants, and capitalize or recapitalize revolving loan funds to help small businesses with the capital they need to grow. For more information on how to access the grants, contact Jonathan Corso, Georgia representative for the Regional EDA Office, at or 404-809-7094.

Additional Resources:
Grants Available
Tourism Product Development Grant Cycle Now Open
Cycle 1 of the Tourism Product Development (TPD) Grant Funding for 2020-2021 is now open. Grant funding is available to communities that have completed a Tourism Product Development (TPD) Resource Team through our TPD department. Grants up to $10,000 will be awarded to communities or counties to build new tourism product that add to or enhance an economic impact from tourism. Eligible projects include arts and culture, culinary, nature and adventure, agritourism, lodging, heritage/historic preservation, sports and recreation, festivals and events, downtown development, and marketing. The deadline for Cycle I TPD Grant applications is June 25, 2020, and recipients will be notified in the fall. Cycle II Funding Cycle (for grants up to $5,000) opens on Sept. 4, with applications due on Dec. 11. More information about the application process is available on the Explore Georgia Tourism Industry Portal.

Resiliency Grant from Georgia Council for the Arts
Last week, Georgia Council for the Arts released guidelines and opened applications for the Resiliency Grant, a one-time grant funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. As a State Arts Agency, the Georgia Council for the Arts was designated to distribute these funds from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to help sustain Georgia’s nonprofit arts sector. These competitive grants are open to all nonprofit arts organizations, whether large or small, urban or rural, classical or contemporary. Grants are open to first-time applicants along with organizations that have received previous funding from the Georgia Council for the Arts or the NEA. Click here to view the guidelines to begin preparing applications. The deadline to submit an application is Tuesday, May 26, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.
Spots Open for Extranet Training
Last month, we held one-on-one Zoom extranet training with partners throughout the state, from hotels and attractions to CVBs. For those who haven’t yet had the chance to take advantage of this training, we are still offering this opportunity in May. During training, our team will walk you through updating or creating a business or event listing on The training sessions last about one hour, and are held Monday through Friday through May 22. Never used our extranet or Zoom before? Don’t worry, we’ll help walk you through it.

To schedule the best time that works for you, reach out directly to Lori Hennesy, partner content specialist, at
Georgia This page is part of the electronic travel newsletter program brought to you by Georgia Department of Economic Development, 75 Fifth Street N.W., Suite 1200, Atlanta, GA 30308 © 2020, GDEcD. All Rights Reserved. All other marks belong to their respective owners. All materials Copyright © 2020 by Explore Georgia
Share   |   Unsubscribe   |   Contact Us   |   Update Your Preferences