Valdosta serves as the economic, service, professional, retail, health care and tourism hub for a 15-17 county region. The region produces goods such as tobacco, forestry products, pecans, specialty automotive parts, and water crafts, among others and is a fertile ground for other major sectors such as education, healthcare and construction, as well as professional, technical, and social services.
Valdosta is home to a diverse mix of industry, manufacturing, and logistics, and in the last six months alone has seen over $26 million in capital investments from existing industries creating over 150 new jobs. Visit the Valdosta-Lowndes Development Authority for more community-investment projects.
Retail sales in Valdosta/Lowndes County exceed $3 billion annually.
According to the Georgia County Guide (UGA 2010), Lowndes County's overall retail pull factor was 2.17, the second highest in the entire state. Retail pull measures the regional market draw to a community. Since Valdosta is the county seat—the largest city in Lowndes County with the greatest economic impact—and home to more than 80% of the businesses located in Lowndes County, Valdosta is credited for these figures.
Recent public/private investments in the historical, vibrant downtown totaled $45 million, and the heart of the city has 8,200 jobs. In addition, a five-story, 125-room Wyndham Garden Hotel project is underway that includes a rooftop restaurant, lounge, conference space, and greenspace that can be used for community events. This $12 million hotel project is expected to spur growth in downtown Valdosta and encourage future economic development in the heart of the city.
Valdosta's tourism industry is anchored by over 4,000 hotel rooms, generating nearly 900,000 sold rooms annually with annual gross lodging sales of nearly $60 million. According to the state of Georgia, those room nights and hotel sales generate total revenue of $256 million from hotel guests only, over $526 million in expenditures from tourists and visitors annually, and when added to those who live in the region and come to Valdosta for dining, retail and entertainment, the total revenues from non-residents is $1.58 billion annually.
Valdosta is home to Wild Adventures Theme Park, a Herschend Family Entertainment owned facility. Wild Adventures is a destination for families with annual visitors from all over the United States and large visitor populations coming from communities within a 3-hour radius in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, such as Savannah, Ga., and Jacksonville and Tallahassee, Fla.
Valdosta is home to Valdosta State University, with over 11,000 students, 2,600 faculty and staff. It is one of only two regional universities in the state of Georgia and has an economic impact of $350 million on the community. Students come from all 159 counties in Georgia, from all 50 states, and from 70 countries around the world.
Valdosta is home to Moody Air Force Base, a multi-mission base with over 6,500 military and civilian employees. Over 12,000 military retirees and their family members live in Valdosta, Lowndes County, and the contiguous counties.
Valdosta is home to South Georgia Medical Center, a comprehensive regional health care facility with over 2,600 employees, a nationally recognized Heart and Cancer Center, and nationally recognized stroke program. The health system's economic impact on our community and region is $761 million.