Businesses Profit From Hurricane Evacuees

Traffic heading into south Georgia on Interstate 75 is packed full of Floridians looking for shelter, quickly selling out every hotel and motel along the way.

Thomas E. Orrison says, “Round trip with gas and hotel, probably $350 or $400. We may have to stay an extra day, but we'll see what happens. Money don't concern me at all. All the overtime I'll get later will take care of all that, but family is the most important thing."

Local hotels aren't the only ones feeling the effect of the added business from the evacuees. Parking lots of restaurants are packed to capacity, meaning these businesses are seeing some of their biggest sales days of the year.

Officials with Georgia's Tourism and Economic Development Office say the typical visitor spends an average of $162 per person, per day, and with more than 4,000 and hotel rooms in Lowndes County, that could translate to big money.

Some evacuees say it is possible to get to safety without spending a fortune.

Robert Morris, evacuating from Melbourne, Florida, says, "A little bit of expenses, mainly food and gas. We're pretty fortunate. We've got some friends up in Warner Robins, GA. We're going to stay with them, so that helps defray some of the cost."

Either way, with every car that exits the interstate, the south Georgia economy feels the positive effects.