New tourism survey draws criticism from Savannah residents - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

New online tourism survey draws criticism from Savannah residents

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

There's always talk about tourism, and often complaints about issues the golden goose of tourism brings. Monday night, WTOC told you about a way to tell Savannah city leaders what you think.

So far, hundreds of you have filled out the online questionnaire.

However, city leaders say they have seen a backlash from residents and the local tourism industry over the survey.

Tourism businesses fear negative comments will hurt them and residents are concerned their "true voice" won't be heard because anyone can take the survey, whether they live downtown or not.

There is no denying, tourism is a huge blessing to the Coastal Empire, but for some, there is a curse too.

"The curse of that is half filled trolleys going by," A.J. Harry told WTOC. "How angry do you get when you get behind a tour bus with two people on it?"

"Carriages are a little bothersome. The stink from all of that is not very pleasant," Derek Willis said.

We've heard those gripes before, and many others like noise, too many trolleys at a time, etc. 

To make downtown quality of life a little better for people who live there every day and to get feedback from visitors and businesses, the online survey, a first of it's kind in Savannah, is aimed at gauging people's frustrations and working on solutions.

The Savannah Tourism Advisory Committee believes it will provide valuable data and feedback.

Downtown Neighborhood Association president Henry Reed says the survey is a great idea and the association helped craft it,  but the final questionnaire, in his opinion, lacked an emphasis on downtown residents.

"The most important thing is you don't know who is responding. It could be anyone from anywhere in the country who can respond and the city wouldn't be able to say wow, this is what the residents think," Reed said..

City of Savannah Tourism Services and Project Administrator Bridget Lidy disagrees. Lidy told WTOC Tuesday afternoon the very last question was added to the survey specifically to address that concern and identify who filled it out.

She says feedback and response has already been strong. Folks have until 5 p.m. Dec. 10 to fill it out. 

To fill out the survey, visit www.savannahga.gov/toursurvey.

Copyright 2012 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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