Tour De Georgia a Money Winner; the April Bike Race Put $38.6 Million into the State's Economy

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Byline: JAKE ARMSTRONG

ATLANTA -- The 2008 Tour de Georgia pumped $38.6 million directly into the state's economy, a 40 percent increase over 2007 despite a sizable drop in attendance, according to a survey conducted by two universities.

While some of the spending increase may be due to a change in methodology, one factor behind the increase was inflation, mainly in gas prices, Phyllis Isley, director of the Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development at Georgia Southern University, said in a news release.

Spending by visitors rose this year even though estimates show fewer people attended the 600-mile race, which began April 21 on Tybee Island and ended April 27 in Atlanta. About 400,000 watched the race this year, a 20 percent decline from 2007 estimates.

The race's start in Tybee Island packed hotel rooms during a typically slow time of year for the beach community, said Bill Hubbard, president and CEO of the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce & Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The chamber doesn't have estimates on how much the tour pumped into the local economy. …