ATLANTA (February 17, 2016) – Georgia Aquarium has released the results of a new economic impact study conducted by Central Atlanta Progress showing that it has been a major draw for both tourists and economic development, contributing $1.9 billion to Georgia’s gross domestic product since opening in 2005. The attraction has created jobs, brought in tourism dollars and stimulated growth in downtown Atlanta while educating and delighting more than 22 million guests over the years.

The study affirms the attraction’s appeal to the 1.35 million out-of-state guests who visit the Aquarium each year. Approximately 60 percent of Aquarium visitors are from outside of Georgia, including 4 percent that are from another country. These out-of-state visitors are expected to spend $52.4 million at the Aquarium this year. In addition, 64 percent of Aquarium guest are visiting for the first time. Out-of-state visitors have a large impact on the state of Georgia. For every one dollar they spend at the Aquarium, they produce ten dollars in the Georgia economy.

“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.”

Georgia Aquarium has been catalytic to the development of downtown Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park district. The district has seen $1.74 billion in new investment in the past 10 years, $1.25 billion of which has occurred since the Aquarium opened in 2005. An additional $136.4 million in projects are currently in the pipeline.

Other economic contributions from Georgia Aquarium 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 through the Aquarium’s continuing operations, with a projected $30 million in direct payroll this year
  • Generating $8.1 million in local and state tax revenue

Today, Pemberton Place, which includes the Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola and the Center for Civil and Human Rights, attracts 3.6 million visitors annually, 2.2 million of whom visit the Aquarium.

“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 added.



Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that contains more than 10 million gallons of water and has the largest collection of aquatic animals. Georgia Aquarium’s mission is to be a scientific institution that entertains and educates, features exhibits and programs of the highest standards, and offers engaging and exciting guest experiences that promote the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. Georgia Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For additional information, visit