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OWENS: Transportation plan not luxury but necessity

In and around Savannah, we’re at a junction. One path is to keep the way we move around this city the same, closing our eyes to the growth that is happening to our area. The other is to plan for our future by investing the time and money for a transportation and mobility plan.

RTD Board of Director Chuck Sisk, talks with members of CAT during a luncheon Wednesday at the Coastal Georgia Center. (Josh Galemore/Savannah Morning News)

OWENS: We're all marketers, so do your part

This week, we had a representative from speak to the tourism community. She shared how that global company is building a landing page on their website that helps attract people. These are just a few of the many marketers pointing people to Savannah.

OWENS: Street sweep schedule needs review

It’s no surprise that the busiest nights of the week in downtown Savannah are Friday and Saturday. These nights are the most popular for everyone.

It’s on these nights that you grab a drink with co-workers downtown, have a community meeting at a restaurant and celebrate major life events while enjoying your own city—and enjoying our city often means finding parking.

Owens: Movies make magic, boost economy

There’s nothing like a movie to transport you to another world, real or imagined. There’s a reason the movie business is so big. We’ll buy a ticket to see our favorite stars or dive into a good story.

And it is magical to see how Hollywood can take us on such fantastic journeys. Movie magic happened in my office this week.

OWENS: Ability to adapt a critical skill

When it’s hot, we sweat. When it’s cold, we shiver. Humans, at even the cellular level, adapt to change. Because of our ability to change to the changing environment, we survive.

It’s no different in business. We must be fluid enough to change our products to what the customer wants.

OWENS: Create a best-case scenario

With all things springtime, it may be time to do some spring cleaning around your business.

When you own your own business, and most of us do in tourism, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day. You have payroll, inventory and paying the light bill.

So it’s easy to lose sight of the vision you originally set out to create with your business.

OWENS: Savannah tourism solutions not always easy as they seem

In tourism, we aim to provide the guests with what they want. The research overwhelmingly shows that people come here to experience our history, architecture and lifestyle. A problem that I’m often faced with is a question that comes my way regularly: “Why can’t you bring tourism to my area?”


OWENS: Tourism, history and lots of stories

Have you heard of the Waving Girl? The statue of Florence Martus gilded in bronze off River Street depicts the young woman waving her handkerchief at ships passing by on the Savannah River.

OWENS: Ripple effect of tourism spending on our economy

What comes to mind when you think about tourism? Is it restaurant to retail or attractions to accommodations? I would say all of the above and so much more.

When we think through the number of how tourism performs in Savannah, we often look at the 26,000 workers who directly work in tourism or the $2.5 billion in outside spending to the businesses that serve the guests, but we don’t often look at the ripple effect.

OWENS: Organizations working together in Savannah

In Savannah, we’re fortunate to have a host of organizations tailored to diverse causes and ideas. There’s something for everyone.

If you’re a part of tourism or want to be a part of tourism, you should be a member of the Tourism Leadership Council or TLC. If you have a business location downtown, there’s the Savannah Downtown Business Association or SDBA.

OWENS: A review of the year in tourism in Savannah

This is the time of year for reflection. What did you do in 2015? What do you have planned for 2016?

If you’re in the tourism business or if your business supports the tourism community, then you can look back at 2015 with pride.

This year, tourism in Savannah was busy.

OWENS: Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport making name for itself

This holiday season, as we make plans to see family and friends, you may be making your way through the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport.

Our airport stands as a dependable organization that houses the companies that get us where we need to go and safely brings thousands of people to us daily.

But maybe you haven’t thought much more about it than that.

OWENS: It's time for our annual tourism awards

Of the 26,000 people who work in tourism, the Tourism Leadership Council is looking for the best and brightest — the ones who go above and beyond the call of duty to serve the guest.

OWENS: Taste of Savannah evolves with changing food, wine landscape

Thousands of people joined me on Saturday at the Georgia Railroad Museum to celebrate all things food and wine.

It was the 15th annual Taste of Savannah, the signature event within the 3-year-old Savannah Food & Wine Festival.

OWENS: A few words — or more — of career advice

Maybe because tourism employs more people than any other industry in Savannah, I get a lot of people asking me about career advice.

So I decided to compile some of my favorite bits of advice for anyone who wants to take their career to the next level.

OWENS: Savannah can learn from Charleston concierge

t’s no secret there’s a rivalry between Savannah and Charleston. Maybe you’ve heard the adage, “Savannah is Charleston’s younger sister.” 

Like a good sibling rivalry, you’re stronger when you work together. I’ve seen this be the case in tourism.

OWENS: There's always a need for networking

It’s no secret that the way to do business in this town is to network.

You have to get out there, make the connections, meet the people and press some palms to get in the door. And, thankfully, in this town most people want to do business with locals.

OWENS: Keeping business fresh

Tourism in Georgia is a $57 billion community. That’s why each year Georgia has the Governor’s Tourism Conference, the oldest tourism conference in the nation.

This year, Savannah played welcomed more than 500 tourism professionals from around the state.

OWENS: The real deal on economic development

Maybe you’ve spotted some Hollywood celebrities around town. Even if you haven’t seen the stars, you can see the light they’re casting on Savannah in terms of economic development.

We talk a lot about economic development in the tourism world. But what does it really mean?

OWENS: We're all in hospitality business

Welcome to the tourism community. You might work in the hospitality industry whether you realize it or not.

In fact, we’re a community made up of unexpected hospitality professionals who are masters of customer service. After all, we are the “Hostess City of the South.”