Visit Savannah sees increase in tourism numbers - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Visit Savannah sees increase in tourism numbers

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Savannah's annual Longwoods International, TravelUSA study for 2013 was unveiled this month, showing an increase in total visitation, visitor spending, average length of stay and the use of social media for travel, among others.

Total number of visitors increased from 12.4 million in 2012 to 13 million in 2013, a nearly 5 percent increase; and total visitor spending increased by nearly 11 percent from $2.07 billion to $2.29 billion.

"It's important to recognize the significant impact that the local tourism and hospitality industry has on the economic prosperity of Savannah. More than $2.3 billion in visitor spending not only drives traditional benefactors like hotels, restaurants, retailers and area attractions, but it also has a very positive effect on non-traditional beneficiaries like local area banks, dry cleaners, gas stations and drug stores," said Joseph Marinelli, Visit Savannah president.

Savannah also saw a 4.4 percent increase in average length of stay from 2.3 nights to 2.4 nights, and increased usage of social media for travel to Savannah of 9 percent from 75 to 82 percent. Social media usage has increased from 45 percent to 82 percent since 2010.

"The impact of Visit Savannah as a tourism marketing machine in this community cannot be under-estimated. From attracting more conventions and meetings than ever before, to helping to attract a younger, more affluent visitor, Savannah is truly becoming recognized as a world-class destination to visit," said Jack Bussert, Visit Savannah chairman.

Visit Savannah has commissioned the Longwoods International, TravelUSA Study since 2010, through which it has seen a steady increase in tourism numbers over the past several years.

"Our goal coming out of the 2009 recession was to attract visitors who are more likely to spend more, stay longer, visit often and tell their friends and family about Savannah. The data from 2013 tell s us that we are we are accomplishing that mission," said Marinelli.

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