Downtown Savannah residents concerned about tourism - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Downtown residents concerned about tourism

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Downtown Savannah residents are worried about the toll tourism is taking on the Hostess City.

According to Vistit Savannah's most recent figures, 12 million tourists came to the city in 2012, about twice the number that visited Ireland.

That's a lot of foot traffic, a lot of trollies, carriages and cars – all traveling through the largest National Landmark Historic District in the United States.

It gives Downtown Neighborhood Association President Henry Reed pause.

"We want to be careful that we don't ruin the city by having it overrun with too many tourists," he said.

That's a sentiment shared by many in the downtown historic district, and they brought their concerns to City Council members during Tuesday's Downtown Neighborhood Assocation at the Coastal Georgia Center.

"It's a delicate balance you have to have between tourists and home folks," Post 2 Alderman Tom Bordeaux said, "because you want the tourists to bring in the money, but then you want them to leave. But you want them to come back."

According to Visit Savannah's figures, tourists spent a little over $2 billion in the Hostess City in 2012.

But downtown residents say there has to be a balance.

"We need to manage it in a way that brings in the revenue that our businesses need without destroying our beautiful historic environment," Reed said

Visit Savannah is expected to release new tourism numbers, 2013's tally, sometime near the middle of the year. 

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