G-8 Preparations in Savannah - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/17/03

G-8 Preparations in Savannah

The G-8 summit will be on Sea Island next June 8 through 10, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars to our area. The impact it will have on Savannah alone will be huge. Savannah's mayor, Floyd Adams, says the G-8 will provide a huge boost to the Hostess City.

"From an economic point of view, it'd be great because all the various journalists would be staying in Savannah, hotels would be going, but most importantly bylines would be from Savannah, Georgia," he said.

The G-8 summit is a huge global event that brings thousands of people from around the world to its host city and surrounding areas. That raises the question, what preparations will Savannah have to make to accommodate all the extra guests, security and world attention? Since the announcement was made just, three days ago, leaders across Savannah are just now learning what their roles will be.

"Atlanta had six years to plan for the Olympics, we've got six months," said Mark Spadoni of the Westin Resort.

At a closed-door meeting this afternoon, G-8 officials met with local hospitality representatives for the first time, hammering out Savannah's basic requirements for the summit.

"Today was really a day of hotel and reservation process, the summit housing accommodations," Tony Schopp of the Savannah Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

More than 5,000 hotel rooms have been set aside for the thousands of international journalists that will be working out of the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center during the summit.

"This meeting will get us exposure in places of the world we've never been," noted Schopp.

So Savannah needs to make sure the guests feel welcome.

"There will be people permanently assigned here to work on logistics, they'll be working on security and we'll be working with a volunteer group and a host committee so preparations are extensive," said Schopp. "Our goal as a destination marketing organization at the bureau is to make sure we capitalize on creating the most favorable impression we can on all the journalists."

How big a job, he's just now realizing.

"Every day you learn something more, and it becomes an even more significant event," he told us.

Reported by: Holly Bristow, hbristow@wtoc.com

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