Tourism is a major economic activity, with visitors spending $15.3 billion in the state. Tourists contribute significantly to Georgians’ incomes in the popular resorts of the sandy coastal areas, the scenic Blue Ridge area, and around Atlanta.
The early Georgian colonists relied mainly on water transportation. By 1812 a primitive system of roads had been built, but the roads were little more than streaks of red mud or dust across the land. Most of the roads converged on Savannah, which has always been the chief port of Georgia. Railroad construction was begun early in the 1830s, and by 1850, Georgia had a more extensive railroad network than any other Southeastern state.
Today, Atlanta is the focal point of railroad, highway, and air transportation routes in Georgia and in most of the Southeast. In 2007 Georgia had 191,156 km (118,779 mi) of roads, including 2,000 km (1,243 mi) of interstate highways. The rail system included 7,691 km (4,779 mi) of track. Georgia had 10 civilian airports, only one of which, in Atlanta, was in the largest classification category. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport ranked as the chief airport of the Southeast and the busiest airport in the country. The number of international flights through Atlanta rapidly expanded in the 1990s.
The sheltered passage between the Sea Islands and the mainland is part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Savannah and Brunswick handle Georgia’s foreign trade, with the leading exports being clay, wood pulp, and paper products. Savannah is the nation’s leading port for the shipment of naval stores and is an important trade outlet for Tennessee.
Savannah now boasts one of the largest ocean port facilities on the South Atlantic Coast, which is having a tremendous impact on opening Georgia to international markets. Among ports in the region, the Port of Savannah ranks second, after Charleston, South Carolina, as the largest container port and first in terms of overall tonnage handled. More than 1,700 ships call at the port annually. Kaolin, wood pulp, linerboard (a thin paperboard used as a lining), and machinery are major exports while iron, steels, food products, petroleum, and chemicals are major imports.
In 2006 Georgia generated 73 percent of its electricity in steam plants fueled by fossil fuels. Another 23 percent came from nuclear power plants, and the remainder came from hydroelectric power plants. Hydroelectric power is generated by plants on the Chattahoochee, Savannah, Tallulah, and other major rivers. Georgia has 4 nuclear power plants. Most of the power plants in the state are owned and operated by private companies, notably the Georgia Power Company. A few hydroelectric facilities are under the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). "Georgia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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