Red Carpet Tour, Georgia’s most successful economic development event, is headed to Hall County

The State of Georgia’s most successful economic development event is the prestigious Red Carpet Tour. This year, hundreds of regional participants will host the tour as it visits Gainesville-Hall County and Northeast Georgia on April 9.

As regional hosts for the tour, Northeast Georgia counties including Dawson, Hall and Forsyth are preparing to welcome companies looking to relocate, open a new facility or expand existing operations.

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Department of Industry Trade and Tourism have sponsored the Red Carpet Tour (RCT) for over 30 years with great results for the state. Some 40 corporate CEO’s from national and international businesses are invited to join economic developers, state officials, and fellow business leaders in touring the state, attending the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta and visiting Atlanta and other communities in the state.

“It’s the most successful economic marketing event of its kind anywhere,” said Kim Goff, senior vice president of economic development for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Since 1988, Georgia has seen more than $3 billion in new or expanded business developments and over 23,000 jobs created due to the tour.

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce began the Red Carpet Tour in 1959 to entice further locations and expansions for the economy in the State of Georgia. The Northeast Georgia Region is honored to have been chosen for 2004 and have joined forces with more than 100 local businesses that have contributed funds, coordinators, volunteers and time.

Richard Hagler, former Vice Chairman of Economic Development for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and President of Barron & Brothers, was a 2003 RCT participant and is chairing this year’s regional effort. Denise Deal, Jackson EMC, is co-chairman. Several committees including business, government, utility, regional, banking and realty volunteers are working feverishly behind the scenes to make the local tour a success.

“Preparing the various venues, working with the other host counties and coordinating activities with the state chamber takes every bit of a year of preparation,” said Kit Dunlap, president of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce. “We already have a couple hundred people involved and will have a much greater number helping us out on April 9! It’s such a great occasion for exposure to national and international business leaders, as well as statewide economic development opportunities.”

On Friday, April 9, participants will arrive for a fast-paced, competitive day ending with dinner including entrepreneurial testimonies to capture the emotions and entice them to locate to Georgia and, specifically, Northeast Georgia.

Red Carpet Tour guests will first participate in fast action car racing at Road Atlanta going on hot laps, skid pad and a mini-autocross.

They will travel by the Atlanta Falcons Training Complex and venture through Downtown Gainesville and the Brenau University campus.

Upon arrival at the Lake Lanier Olympic Center, they will hop into dragon boats along with trained athletes to compete on Lake Lanier. After awards, refreshments and entertainment, guests will be driven to the majestic Riverside Military Academy.

At Riverside Military Academy, guests will network with local hosts from our region and businesses that have found success here. Entrepreneur Don Panoz will be the keynote speaker. Panoz located his company here from a previous Red Carpet Tour and found success in developing Chateau Elan, Road Atlanta and Elan Pharmaceutical among many other accomplishments. A show of fireworks will accompany the guests departure back to Atlanta and The Masters at Augusta National on Saturday.

At every location hundreds of smiling faces will greet our guests as we welcome them to Northeast Georgia – The Best of All Worlds.

We are honored to have been chosen again to host this type of prestigious group, as our last opportunity to host part of the tour was in 1998. Because of Gainesville-Hall County’s dedication and effort in the past Red Carpet Tours, companies like Élan Pharmaceutical, Wrigley, ATEX, StitchTech and Mugele of America have relocated to Northeast Georgia. And who knows what other companies this year’s tour will bring to Georgia – all because of our southern hospitality and red carpet treatment!

Volunteers are needed at the Lake Lanier Olympic Center on Friday, April 9 from 4:15 – 7:00 p.m. Children and adults are needed to cheer on teams racing dragon boats. The first 50 kids to arrive will receive a free t-shirt. Festivities include music, doorprizes and refreshments… Join the fun!

To volunteer or for more information on the 2004 Red Carpet Tour, contact Shelley Davis at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, 770-532-6206 or e-mail: