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The Savannah Chamber Weekly Digest
Everything You Need to Know From the Chamber

June 26, 2023

Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce


Visitors Agree That Savannah is ‘Anything But Ordinary’       

As Chicago-area residents walked the sun-splashed streets of the Taste of Randolph festival, many stopped in their tracks when they saw a lush, flower-filled attraction filled with people enjoying each other’s company. 

“What is this?” they asked over and over. At first glance, some thought it was a new southern-themed restaurant opening in an area famous for cutting-edge dining. A few guessed that a luxury flower shop was coming to the neighborhood.

Many of Savannah’s community leaders were on hand to answer: we’re here from Savannah, Georgia! Savannah City Manager Jay Melder talked to potential visitors about the non-stop flights from both of Chicago’s airports, while Chatham County Commission Chair Chester Ellis joined County Manager Michael Kaigler to personally welcome people waiting in line to get into our activation area. In the end, so many people couldn’t believe a whole city had come to make new friends in their community.

Savannah Area Chamber and Visit Savannah board members were more than willing to stand in the sun for hours talking up our city – sometimes to festivalgoers that were very familiar with our destination, and to others who couldn’t pick us out on a map. 

Regardless of the level of their experience and knowledge of Savannah, the main thing we heard over and over was appreciation for being in Chicago in person to ask for their business. Visit Savannah champions the tag line “Anything But Ordinary” and no one would disagree after seeing us at the Taste of Randolph. And our 2022 travel statistics show this mindset is working. 

In May, Visit Savannah released a report from Longwoods International showing that Savannah played host to 9.7 million overnight person-trips and more than $4.4 billion in total visitor spending in 2022. Savannah's growth can be attributed to several factors including pent-up travel demand, increased air service (27.5 percent increase in air arrivals versus 2021), and expanded tourism offerings.

Increased lodging demand (up 9.2 percent for hotels and 3.3 percent for short-term rentals over 2021) generated $44.5 million in bed tax collections in 2022 (up 21.6 percent over 2021). Most importantly, Savannah's hospitality-related jobs grew 9.5 percent compared to 2021, with tourism employing more than 27,000 people in the Savannah area. 

One look around the downtown area and it's hard to miss all the cranes representing hundreds of millions of dollars in investment in both new and remodeled lodging projects. 

Recognizing the importance of this industry to our area’s success, our local and state elected leaders partnered with private sector interests to finally pass an increase in the hotel-motel tax, which will pump tens of millions into needed projects around the city. Redevelopment of the River Street waterfront, expansion of the Tide to Town trail network and renovation of the historic Waterworks building near Enmarket Arena are just the highlights of the investments that will be made to benefit both residents and visitors.

The health of Savannah’s visitor economy is critical to the region’s success. With all this momentum, it's easy to see how Savannah is “Anything But Ordinary.”

Bert Brantley
President & CEO
Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce


Business Connection Under the Big Top | Thursday, June 29

You’re cordially invited to join the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce for its Big Top Business Connection on Thursday, June 29, at the Savannah Country Club. This circus-themed networking event will thrill you with cocktails, canapes and of course, magic! 

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Power Hour with Visit Savannah | Tuesday, July 11

Join us for the July Power Hour featuring Visit Savannah’s Content Marketing team. Learn more about the variety of marketing opportunities available to Chamber members. The team will share everything from marketing basics to essential practices, giving attendees unique insights to improve business visibility and draw more customers. You don’t want to miss this incredible learning opportunity! 

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Visit Savannah Brings the Savannah Experience to Chicago

This past weekend, the Visit Savannah team created an immersive, 4D Savannah experience at Chicago's popular Taste of Randolph event. The free pop-up event welcomed over 4,000 people across two days and introduced Chicago residents to the many facets of Savannah, including arts & culture, food & drink and more.

Guests were treated to Savannah Bee Company honey tastings, pralines from Savannah's Candy Kitchen, live music from Savannah-based musician Clara Waidley, a paint-by-number mural experience featuring artwork from Savannah-based artist, Kipper Milsap as well as a variety of photo opportunities in front of realistic Savannah scenery like a custom-made 8 foot live oak tree draped in spanish moss. 

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Welcome our newest members and remember to do business with your fellow Chamber members!

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Thank you to these members for their continued support through their membership!

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Chamber Hosts June Coffee Chats at Blood Connection Center

The Blood Connection Center hosted this month’s Coffee Chats where 50 guests delivered elevator pitches, networked and connected with potential clients. This event also provided a way for attendees to learn more about the impact of donating blood in the Savannah community. 

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Bert Brantley, Brad Raffensperger, and Subject Specialists Share Tips on Securing Investments at FIN FIT Event

The Chamber was delighted to attend the FIN FIT: Fearless Fundraising for Small Business Owners event at Savannah Station. The event featured an impressive lineup of speakers, including our President/CEO Bert Brantley, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and a respected panel of subject matter experts. The speakers shared a wealth of tips and tricks on how to secure investments and grow businesses.

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Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce | Visit Savannah

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