Georgia Aquarium has contributed $1.9 billion to state economy

February 19,2016

As the Georgia Aquarium celebrates its 10th anniversary, a new study finds the downtown attraction has contributed $1.9 billion to the state’s economy since it opened in late 2005.

The study, conducted by Bleakly Advisory Group, also shows the Aquarium welcomes 1.35 million out-of-state guests each year, with about 60 percent from outside Georgia. Those visitors are expected to spend $52.4 million at the Aquarium this year.

In total, more than 22 million people have visited the Aquarium since it opened.

“Every dollar invested in Georgia Aquarium generates an additional $2.50 of private and public investment to the area,” said Georgia Aquarium’s Chief Operating Officer Joe Handy. “As a not-for-profit organization, we are proud that we can advance the state’s economy in such a meaningful way while advancing the field of marine research.”

Other economic contributions include:

- Creating 11,000 construction jobs, from the Aquarium’s construction through its latest expansion, the $40 million SunTrust Pier 225 sea lion exhibit.

- Supporting 2,000 permanent jobs over the past 10 years, with a projected $30 million in direct payroll this year.

- Generating $8.1 million in local and state tax revenue each year.

Additionally, the Aquarium is seen by many as a catalyst for new development in downtown. Since it opened in 2005, $1.25 billion in new investment has come to the Centennial Olympic Park district. Another $136.4 million worth of projects is in the pipeline.

“The past 10 years have been transformative for downtown Atlanta, and we look forward to carrying this positive momentum into and beyond our next decade,” Handy said.