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“walking Dead” Town Is Hot Tourist Spot

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By Author: Steve Robinson
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Sometimes it is easier to find cheap travel options, such as cheap airplane tickets, cheap vacation packages, and discount travel packages than it is to figure out where to go. Followers of the zombie themed TV show “The Walking Dead” should consider visiting Senoia in Georgia which is a small town 25 miles south of Atlanta.

Senoia has suffered in the past as its local cotton and agricultural industries died off. Now the town is experiencing a revival with a retail district that has grown from six to 20 businesses over the last six years.

Locals credit the town’s turnaround to the success of the weekly zombie AMC cable network series which averages 7 million U.S.
viewers age 28 to 49, making the show the top rated drama for that demographic in cable history. The Walking Dead has just completed its third season.

Many fans are eager to take a behind the scenes look at the filming in and around Senoia which is transformed into the fictional town of Woodbury on the show. During filming the town stopped cutting the grass and weeding the flower beds to give it a more authentic post apocalyptic setting.

While a few locals have complained about the challenge of competing with tourists to find parking spaces, business owners have been delighted to accommodate the show and its fans. Some businesses have reported sales increases of as much as 40 percent just in the past year because of the growing tourist traffic.

Fans include teenagers and retirees who pose for pictures by the fake Woodbury town hall and bank and buy “Zombie Dark” coffee from the café that is home to the Woodbury Coffee House on the show.

Georgia appeals to the film and TV industry by offering generous tax incentives and dozens of direct flight daily between Atlanta and Los Angeles. The state hosted over 300 film, TV production, and music videos between July 2011 and June 2012 which generated almost $880 million in direct spending.

Although Senoia is not paid for the filming, local businesses have been able to capitalize on the spotlight the show places on the town while preserving its historic charm.

Senoia has installed sidewalk plaques to commemorate the two dozen movies and TV series that have been filmed in the town, including “Drop Dead Diva”, “Fried Green Tomatoes”, and “Sweet Home Alabama”.

A store carrying licensed Walking Dead merchandise will open when production starts again in May. A boutique hotel’s construction is expected to commence later this year.
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