Jay Markwalter

Jay Markwalter

Statewide Tourism Director | Georgia Department of Economic Development

Jay Markwalter is the Statewide Tourism Director for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. In this role, he leads the Department’s Tourism Division, working collaboratively with state leadership and industry partners statewide to drive the continued growth and economic impact of tourism in Georgia. He leads a Regional Tourism team dedicated to tourism industry relations, oversees the state’s nine Visitor Information Centers committed to serving travelers, and works in close partnership with the Department’s Marketing and Communications team to ensure marketing programs are developed in collaboration with Georgia’s travel and hospitality industry. Jay and the Tourism Division are under the leadership of the Department’s Chief Marketing Officer Mark Jaronski.

Prior to his current role, Jay served as Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, where he worked with the state’s travel and hospitality industry to elevate Georgia’s tourism-driven economic development. His experience also includes leadership roles in downtown development and tourism for Augusta, Lawrenceville, and Dahlonega-Lumpkin County; a Board of Directors member for the Georgia Tourism Foundation, Georgia Downtown Association, and Southeast Tourism Society (STS); and State Chair for Georgia for the STS Congressional Summit on Travel and Tourism.

Jay is a graduate of Leadership Georgia class of 2013 and served as a Leadership Georgia program chair in 2018. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Georgia, where he also achieved downtown development and development authority training certifications. He also holds a Travel Marketing Professional designation and a Festival and Event Professional certification.

A Savannah native, Jay lives in Augusta with his wife Sumner and two sons.

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