Macon Hosts Group of International Representatives as Part of GDEcD VIP Tour

Staff Report

Monday, March 13th, 2023

The Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority (MBCIA) and Visit Macon teamed up to host a major international visit to downtown Macon on Thursday. A group of Consuls General are on a VIP tour around the state to see the wonderful things that Georgia has to offer.

The VIP Tour is a long-standing program – dating back to 1986 – presented by the International Relations division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). As a national leader for business, the state uses this program to host international diplomats and business representatives. This year’s tour of South Georgia, with a stop in Middle Georgia, is the first in three years after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The State of Georgia started the International VIP Tour more than 30 years ago to give international representatives a firsthand view of Georgia’s diverse communities,” said Nico Wijnberg, Chief of Protocol for the State of Georgia, and Director of International Relations at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “The tour rotates through different host regions of the state each year, and this year’s focus is on the industries and unique characteristics that create and encourage job growth in communities in middle and South Georgia. These international leaders take their experiences and insights back to the countries they represent, opening doors for future partnerships.” 

The tour highlights job-creating industries across the state, ranging from advanced manufacturing to arts and tourism.Representatives span the globe and represent top trading partners, investor nations, tourism, study abroad destinations, major allies, and friends of our country. This tour aids in building relationships with these different sectors for mutual growth.

“Welcoming 23 representatives from all over the world is a huge honor for the people of Macon. We have multiple international industries, so we appreciate every chance we can to steward these relationships,” states Robby Fountain, Chairman of the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority. “Additionally, Capricorn Studios is the perfect venue to host our visitors. We love showcasing the music scene that Macon-Bibb County is internationally recognized for.”

Capricorn Studios is the birthplace of Southern Rock. With a variety of acclaimed artists to have graced the halls of the studio like the Charlie Daniels Band, the Allman Brothers Band, Otis Redding, Bonnie Bramlett, and many more, Capricorn Studios integrates culture and music into Macon-Bibb County in a large way. Thanks to Mercer University, the downtown studio has been fully restored into a multipurpose venue in downtown Macon. The current venue features a state-of-the-art commercial studio, as well as a museum. 

“Macon is truly an international city. From worldwide musical influences to economic development ventures, to business and community partnerships, to our Pre-K thru college educational opportunities, Macon-Bibb is truly an international city that we are all proud of,” said Mayor Lester Miller. “That is why this tour was so special and important to us: we had the chance to showcase all we have to offer the world!”