Savannah had its third consecutive year of growth in tourism, hosting 12.4 million visitors last year, according to Visit Savannah.
"This is a 2.5 percent increase in visitors from2011. The development is reflected in an increase of overnight visitors between 2011 and 2012 from 6.8 million to 7.0 million and day-trippers growing from 5.3 million to 5.4 million," a spokesman says.
To be clear, the "day-tripper" category doesn't necessarily include only those visiting specifically for tourism-related reasons.
In addition to the record volume number of visitors, visitor spending also increased, hitting $2.01 billion in 2012.
“We are extremely pleased with the growth of our visitor traffic and spending figures in 2012,” said Visit Savannah President Joseph Marinelli. “The numbers continue to tell a very good story, and the results of this latest round of research indicates that many of our marketing initiatives are working well. We are seeing increased spending, with significant growth in the areas of shopping, dining and visiting cultural events and attractions.”
Visit Savannah continues its category-leading social media. In 2012, Visit Savannah breached 100,000 Facebook fans in 2013 and currently has 24,000 Twitter followers and close 25,000 on Pinterest.
“This is a segment of our destination marketing effort that we put tremendous emphasis on, and it’s nice to know that we are focused on the right vehicles to reach our target demographic of visitors," Marinelli said.
“The positive growth in 2012 was something that we had been expecting,” said Scott Snipes, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Savannah and current Visit Savannah board chairman. “Our local hotel industry saw similar growth last year in occupancies and average rates.
The data was produced via the annual TravelUSA study commissioned by Visit Savannah through Longwoods International. Longwoods, based in Toronto, is one of the most respected third-party tourism research agencies in North America.