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UGA study: GNFA economic output exceeds $133 million

Posted on Mar 28, 2024 at 7:58 AM

A new economic impact study prepared by UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government touts big numbers for the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter (GNFA) in Perry. According to the study based on figures from 2022, the fairground’s activities were responsible for $133 million of goods and services produced in Georgia’s economy. In Houston County alone, it was responsible for more than $35 million in goods and services.

The GNFA is a state-operated facility that hosts the Georgia National Fair, which draws an average of 500,000 visitors from across the Southeast each October. Of GNFA’s $133 million economic output, almost $34 million is generated by the fair. The remainder is generated from the facilities event rental operations, predominantly in livestock-related activity.

As one of the foremost livestock venues in the nation, GNFA and surrounding lodging provide the temporary home for participants competing in national and international livestock shows such as the National Barrel Horse Youth World Championships and National Junior High Rodeo Finals. These two shows alone drew a combined 93,000 visitors to the area in 2022, many from outside of the state. Georgia ranks 5th in the nation for domestic overnight tourism visitation and data shows that GNFA ranks 4th in the state for generating those visits. Data from the GNFA economic impact study estimates that out-of-state visitor spending in 2022 exceeded $56 million.

In February, officials broke ground on the dual branded Fairfield/TownPlace suites project, developed in partnership with Retreat Hotels & Resorts. The hotel is tentatively scheduled to be complete in summer 2025. The property will be connected via an air-conditioned corridor to the adjacent conference center, the Miller Murphy Howard Building, to create an authentic convention experience for GNFA guests.

The planned 129-unit hotel will feature two brands under one roof, with 66 rooms in the TownePlace Suites by Marriott and 63 in the Fairfield. Amenities will include a large pool, fitness center, guest laundry, bar, and restaurant.

The hotel is affiliated with Marriott, the largest hotel franchisor in the world. The TownePlace Suites is one of Marriott’s extended stay brands which caters to longer-term guests. The Fairfield by Marriott, the chain’s second-largest brand, places emphasis on simplicity, and caters to leisure and business travelers. This is the first Marriott in the Perry market, and the only Marriott hotel within a 15-mile radius.

For more information about the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority and the Georgia National Fairgrounds visit

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