The City of Savannah has received $27,500 in grants from national and local organizations to develop a plan to balance the tourism industry’s interests and residents’ needs in the National Historic Landmark District.
“We look forward to engaging the public and our partners in developing a tourism management plan that will support the needs of our downtown residents, businesses and visitors,” said Savannah City Manager Stephanie Cutter. “With proper planning and management, Savannah’s historic district can continue to flourish for years to come.”
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, from its Johanna Favrot Fund for Preservation, granted the City $10,000 for the project. Additional support has been pledged from Historic Savannah Foundation, the Downtown Neighborhood Association, Visit Savannah, and the Tourism Leadership Council.
“It is fitting the National Trust would make Savannah the beneficiary of this generous grant on the 50th anniversary of our National Historic Landmark District designation,” said Vaughnette Goode-Walker, chair, City of Savannah Tourism Advisory Committee. “With one of the largest historic districts in the country — a tourism management plan will propel us into the future with a growing and sustainable industry.”
The City has begun accepting requests for proposals from qualified contractors for the development of a tourism management plan. The successful proposal will: engage the public through meetings, field work, and stakeholder interviews identify five priority items and develop strategies for the community to balance quality of life, the tourism industry, and preservation create a work plan with specific goals, objectives, benchmarks, and responsible parties provide best practices for tourism management that can be applied in Savannah identify future trends in tourism that will impact Savannah.
“HSF supports a healthy and responsible tourism industry, and we do so by keeping the residents’ needs in paramount consideration,” said Daniel Carey, president and CEO of Historic Savannah Foundation. “As the number of visitors to Savannah continues to increase, careful planning and management are necessary to sustain both the industry and the fragile and unique charm of Savannah long into the future.”
Tourism is currently one of the largest industries in the Savannah area, providing more than 26,000 jobs, $2.5 billion in visitor spending and economic opportunities for residents. A tourism management plan will ensure that the growing number of visitors (currently approximately 13.7 million per year) does not detract from the City’s authenticity or negatively impact historic district residents’ overall quality of life.