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Savannah Tourism Hits 12 Million Visitors in 2011

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By: Calli Arnold

June 8, 2012 SAVANNAH, GA -- Visit Savannah is pleased to announce that in 2011 Savannah saw its largest number of visitors on record, growing to 12.1 million total visitors overall, up from 11.4 million in 2010. This jump was reflected in an increase in overnight visitors between 2010 and 2011, jumping from 6.3 million to 6.8 million, as well as day-trip visitors growing from 5.1 million to 5.3 million.

In addition to strong overall volume, 2011 also saw a sizable uptick in visitor spending from $1.7 billion in 2010 to $1.95 billion in 2011.

“Savannah’s performance measurables for the tourism sector continues to be a terrific story,” said Visit Savannah President Joseph Marinelli. “2011 was another record-breaking year for numbers of visitors the Savannah area, visitor spending and hotel/motel tax collections. Ultimately, this all means good things for the hotels, attractions, restaurants, retail shops in our city, as well as the gas stations, drug stores and shopping malls throughout the area.”

The data for 2011 also shows that Visit Savannah’s strategic focus on utilizing increased social media and online marketing has seen impressive growth as well. In 2011, 52 percent of visitors used social media and interactive outlets to plan their Savannah stays, versus 45 percent in 2010. Visit Savannah currently has nearly 66,000 Facebook followers, 18,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 14,000 followers on Pinterest — many of whom interact with those channels on a regular basis.

“Our marketing shift towards a more social media and online-centric plan appears to be having the desired effect, with the overall demographics of our visitor trending slightly younger,” Marinelli said. “This is especially important as we continue to market to visitors that will stay longer, spend more, make a return visit and tell their friends and families about us.”

2011 data show that the overall age of visitors to Savannah continues to evolve to reflect a younger demographic. Average ages are trending down to 43 for 2011 overnight visitors, compared to 45 in 2010, and to 42 for day-trip visitors in 2011, compared to 46 in 2010.

“Visit Savannah’s marketing efforts over the last few years has been crafted towards a younger, more affluent demographic of visitor,” said current Chairman of the Visit Savannah Board of Directors and General Manager of Old Town Trolley Tours Charlie Brazil. “It’s nice to see the numbers playing out with data to support that trend.

“We must always be conscious of bringing visitors to town today, but constantly also keeping an eye to the visitor of tomorrow as well.”

The data was produced via the annual TravelUSA study commissioned by Visit Savannah through Longwoods International. Longwoods, based in Toronto, is one of the most respected third-party tourism research agencies in North America.

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Visit Savannah serves as the official destination marketing organization for the Savannah area tourism industry and is committed to driving economic prosperity in the greater Savannah community through increased overall visitation and related spending while continuing to build upon Savannah’s image as a world-class destination.

Phone: 912.644.6429
Email: CArnold@VisitSavannah.com

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