There are roughly 27,000 people who work in tourism in Savannah who are taking a deep breath today.
They’re breathing deeply, gearing up for tourism’s peak season. Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day kicks off a new season for us. As the parade has wrapped up another year, everyone is girding up for peak season.
It’s here, and we’re ready.
It’s exhilarating to see the tourism community work during the high season like a well-oiled machine, serving visitors who have saved, sometimes for years, to come to our city and spend their money here.
While our tourism areas extend from Tybee to Pooler and from Hilton Head to Richmond Hill, the bulk of the activity centers on our downtown area.
We have more restaurants, more shops and more variety than we’ve ever had before, so come downtown and see for yourself.
Let me see if I can give you a few ways to encourage you to come downtown.
We are a walking city.
It’s what we tell our guests all the time: “Plan to park your car for the next three days and walk where you want to go.”
For those of you who are coming to downtown from your neighborhood, searching for parking will afford you some opportunity to walk.
While find parking in downtown can sometimes be a challenge, it’s no different than parking your car at the back of the lot of a Wal-Mart — only your walk will be more scenic than rows and rows of cars.
We also have ample parking garages scattered around downtown that are often ready and waiting with plenty of vacancies.
Variety of Shops
When you do arrive to take part in all that downtown has to offer, you’ll find everything from locally owned boutiques to national retailers.
There’s something for everyone — from hat shops to shoe shops, and from apple martinis to zebra-pattern pillows.
My family and I love shopping downtown because we get to walk around, meet people from all over the world, and fall in love with our city again.
History in Every Square
Even if you don’t come to downtown to shop, come reacquaint yourself and your family with the history that surrounds us.
We are lucky enough to live in a beautifully historic city with stories connecting all of our 22 squares.
Come walk where General James Oglethorpe planned our city back in 1733.
Come to Greene Square to the Second African Baptist Church to see where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his early version of his “I Have a Dream” speech.
We live in a city where thousands of people want to come see what we have, and they want to come back again and again. Most of our guests have been to Savannah before and have decided to return. Those who come from out of town are finding a way to enjoy our downtown; you should too.
We can’t put up artificial gates to keep us from taking part in all of the wonderful things downtown has to offer.
Michael Owens is president/CEO of the Tourism Leadership Council, the largest nonprofit trade organization that supports and represents the tourism community. Contact Owens at email@example.com or by calling (912) 232-1223.