Enjoy All Savannah Has to Offer
Meet Savannah, a historic old city with a revered past, a vibrant present and an intriguing future.
Savannah, Est. 1733, brims with an atmosphere and charm fostered by residents who have cherished and preserved its past. Their love of history is embodied in the beautifully restored homes, churches and public buildings that grace the city’s unique, tree-filled squares, and that affection has given rise to a tourism industry that’s boomed dramatically since the mid-1990s.
With its storied and well-preserved past, its natural beauty and its many and varied opportunities for outdoor recreation, Savannah is a drawing card for tourists. More than 6.15 million people stayed here in 2008, spending more than $1.9 billion, an outpouring that has continued to stimulate the creation of new hotels, restaurants and shops.
Savannah’s diversity in its economic sectors that began developing before and during World War II has remained a strong suit of the city and is evident today in the wide range of employers benefiting the area — manufacturers, the hospitality industry, the military, institutions of higher education, large-scale providers of health care and elder care, knowledge-based businesses and a strong retail component.
In the post-war years, a movement took place that has been a tremendous boon to Savannah in the realms of aesthetics, culture and the economy. Concerned citizens organized in the mid-1950s to preserve historic structures threatened by the wrecking ball of urban renewal. The endeavor gave rise to the Historic Savannah Foundation, which since then has saved a multitude of buildings whose beauty and appeal is the bedrock of the city’s tourism trade.
Advancing the preservation effort since the late 1970s has been the Savannah College of Art and Design, which occupies more than 60 facilities in the downtown area, many of them of historic importance and impeccably renovated by the school.
Savannah has long been a favorite of visitors enthralled by the azaleas and Spanish moss-covered live oaks of the historic squares, the quaint atmosphere of the cobblestoned waterfront, the tranquility of nearby marshlands and beaches and the warmth of the town’s residents. But tourism truly took off in the 1990s when John Berendt’s novel, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” focused attention on Savannah. Curiosity about Savannah prompted by the best-seller lured readers here in droves and created a cottage industry revolving around what locals still refer to as “The Book.”
Today’s tourist bonanza is the Paula Deen craze. The popular Food Network queen brings visitors by the busloads to her restaurant and gift shop.
Meet Savannah, an historic old city enamored of its past, energetic about its present and exuberant regarding its future.