As the 150th anniversary of the Civil War approaches next year, millions of dollars are at stake with Georgia’s ability to draw tourists to hundreds of historic sites.
The state department of Economic Development, the Georgia Civil War Commission, and the Georgia Historical Society have invested in historical markers, a guide book, a new website and tour maps for rest areas.
But Charlie Crawford, President of the Georgia Battlefields Association, says it’s too late to get started now.
“People who travel for history tourism, or what they sometimes call heritage tourism, tend to stay longer, spend more money than your quote unquote average tourist. They also spend more time researching,” he says.
And that’s the opportunity Crawford says Georgia has lost by rolling out resources only now.
As for the economic impact of Civil War tourism, John Culpepper, Chair of the Georgia Civil War Commission, says the one million yearly visitors to the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Battlefield bring in 50 million dollars to the region.
Culpepper says over three years the state has invested 85,000 dollars in the Civil War Commission.