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Tours of duty
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I'm glad Robert Edgerly sent us his letter about the proliferation of tour activity downtown. It's been an issue on my mind for awhile.

I fully support a vibrant local tourism industry - having written a few regional travel books on the side myself - but it's become apparent that in some respects things are beginning to get out of hand.

My perspective is not only about the quantity of tours downtown, but the quality.

The epiphany came for me recently when I strolled by a square and heard a carriage guide claim that a certain inn was named the way it was because Abraham Lincoln stayed there.

Puzzled as to when Ol' Abe would have had a chance to visit Savannah -- Georgia seceded almost immediately after his inauguration and he was assassinated immediately after the end of the Civil War -- I got in touch with my history-minded friends in various capacities around town.

None of them could figure out when Lincoln might have stayed here, so our consensus is that the tour guide was either making it up or is an unsung, underemployed scholarly genius.

That tour guides, who we're constantly reminded have to pass a tough test to get their licenses, are apparently fabricating history in a town so rich with real history isn't just needless, it's plain wrong.

I spend a lot of time and ink writing about the need to relax over-regulation of local small business, but apparently here's a case where more regulation is indeed needed.

My own pet peeve - and I'm certainly not trying to put words in Mr. Edgerly's mouth - has to do with the proliferation of ghost tours.

Now, if you're gullible enough to believe in ghosts as an adult, that's your business. And I certainly don't begrudge any enterprising businessperson an opportunity to make easy money off your gullibility and thereby contribute to the local tax base.

But ghost tours - which offer nothing but pure entertainment - shouldn't have any more right to disturb the evening in a residental area than any other entertainment business.

Ghost tours are clean old-fashioned fun, but the stewardship of Savannah's history - not to mention simply keeping the peace - is a serious thing.