That's a healthy bump, but why the big jump? It is surprising, especially considering that spectatorship was down to about 400,000 this year, a 20% drop from the previous year's 515,000.
Methodology of data gathering might have something to do with it. So does inflation, the price of gasoline, and an increase in the number of foreign visitors lured by the weak dollar.
The economic impact was determined using data collected by crowd intercept surveys at all start and finish host venue locations, says a press release from state of Georgia. The North Georgia College and University handled data collection, and the Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development of Georgia Southern University was responsible for data input and analysis.
Said Phyllis Isley, director, Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development at Georgia Southern University:
“We can’t tell how much of the change is due to methodology, but we believe that one of the reasons for the large increase (in economic impact) over last year is inflation, particularly in gasoline.
“Some of the increase is also due to the significant increase in the number of international visitors. The increase in international visitors is probably due to the devaluation of the dollar making a U.S. trip more affordable.”
On a plus side, the Tour de Georgia raised a record amount of funds for its charities — Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Georgia Cancer Coalition. The $500,000 raised was double the amount of previous years.
More on the economic impact at the Tour de Georgia website.