Visit Savannah reported to its Board of Directors that direct visitor spending in the Savannah area increased by 4 percent over 2016. Total visitor spending made a financial impact in the community of nearly $3 billion, the highest figure to date. The statistics were measured by Longwoods International.
Visit Savannah’s president Joseph Marinelli is proud of the growth, and says that this increase is only the beginning for Savannah, which continues to add to its tourism product. “We’re especially pleased to again see increases in the number of visitors to our community and the increase in overall spending,” he says. “There are cities all around the country that would love to have the kind of economic driver that the tourism and hospitality industry is for the Savannah/Chatham County area, and with the new boutique-style hotels coming on line, plus the additional restaurants, attractions and retail options, the best is yet to come.”
Vaughnette Goode-Walker, chair of Visit Savannah’s Board of Directors, agrees, and emphasizes the ways in which tourism supports jobs in the community. “I’d say our tourism sales and marketing efforts are doing exactly what we expect them to do: generate more visitor traffic and increased spending. At the end of the day, those hotel-motel tax dollars help to improve the overall quality of life for our residents and the additional visitors mean more people in the hospitality and service sectors are working. That’s why we do this.”
Total visitation to the Savannah area rose by 1.7% in 2017, as Savannah and Chatham County saw the average length of stay for visitors remained around 2.4 days. Also of note: shopping, dining and landmark/historic sites were again the top three activities and experiences that interested visitors.
The Longwoods Travel USA study is the nation’s longest ongoing study of business and leisure travel, and has been conducted quarterly by Longwoods International since 1990.