2018 Longwoods Travel USA Study Reports Another Record-Breaking Year for Savannah Tourism

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

This week, Visit Savannah reported the 2018 results of the Longwoods Travel USA Study to its board of directors, showing a 3.2 percent increase over 2017 in visitor spending—to slightly more than $3 billion—and an increase in the average length of stay from 2.4 to 2.6 nights.
“Our efforts over the last few years to encourage visitors to stay longer and spend more while they are here appear to be working, and we’re extremely pleased,” says Visit Savannah’s president Joseph Marinelli. “That coupled with an impressive increase in non-stop flights into Savannah, a larger variety of culinary experiences and retail options, and our ongoing offering of some of the best arts exhibits and festivals in the South all continue to keep Savannah one of America’s most popular destinations.”
The board of directors credits the length-of-stay increase to Visit Savannah’s work to promote Savannah’s various neighborhoods outside of the National Historic Landmark District. Board Chair Dave Legasse elaborates: “Visit Savannah’s marketing efforts to promote the area’s local products as well as neighborhoods like the Starland, Victorian and Moon River Districts are having a positive effect on how long visitors are choosing to stay in town. In doing so, we are also seeing an increase in visitor spending which, at the end of the day, translates into economic and workforce development for the area.”
Increases in visitation are good for the entire community, Marinelli agrees. “There is certainly a ‘halo effect’ tied to all of the development happening along the Savannah riverfront and around the community. The growth that we are experiencing in the tourism segment, along with the success happening with the Georgia Ports Authority, in the manufacturing sector, and increases in area home sales can all be linked together as the classic ‘rising tide’ effect.”