Tourism Management Plan

Background

In late 2016, the City engaged The EXPERIENCE Institute® (TEI) to develop a tourism management plan with the goal of balancing resident needs with industry interests. The TMP was designed to be a comprehensive, living document serving as a strategic roadmap to guide city, residential, preservation, and tourism industry efforts for the next three to five years in managing tourism-related dynamics, challenges, and opportunities. 

Approved by Mayor and Council in February 2018, the Tourism Management Plan can be found here.

Contributors included:

  • National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Downtown Neighborhood Association
  • Historic Savannah Foundation 
  • Tourism Leadership Council 
  • Visit Savannah

Implementation

City departments and the Tourism Advisory Committee (TAC) have begun the two to five year process of implementing the strategies and strategic roadmap of the TMP.

TMP Process

The Tourism Management Plan should:

  • Ensure strategy, approach, and processes are aligned with the City’s overall strategic goals and priorities
  • Provide a clearly defined, results-oriented, effectively resourced platform to successfully achieve quality of life balanced with stakeholder satisfaction
  • Support the TAC to identify, address, and recommend solutions to priority issues through a collaborative, simplified process with appropriate City departments
  • Help prioritize issue resolution so that opportunities and challenges that most benefit all are at the forefront
  • Streamline and optimize resources

TMP Structure

Goals and Objectives 

Goal #1 - Collaborative Approach: Dynamic, proactive structure and process that generates best practice ideas, solutions, and advice regarding tourism-related issues.

Goal #2 - Data-Driven Ethos: Ongoing, collaborative, data-driven, solutions-based planning with all stakeholders to address mutual challenges.

Goal #3 - Comprehensive Communication: Effectively communicated efforts and successes of tourism management efforts to drive awareness and advocacy.

Preserving the National Historic Landmark District Experience for Residents and Visitors

TOPIC STRATEGY STATUS
Funding Major Projects & Initiatives Pursue Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funding for new amenities for residents and visitors Ongoing
Archeology Ordinance Support development of archaeology ordinance Ongoing
Essential Services/Public Restrooms Continue to pursue public restroom on the east end of River Street
Identify additional restroom locations and funding options
Ongoing
Noise Abatement Establish noise task force to evaluate effectiveness of existing noise ordinance and research strategies employed in other communities
Explore option of creating good neighbor [noise] policy
Ongoing
Sustainable Tourism Certification Research and determine if participation in Global Sustainable Tourism Council [GSTC] is viable Complete
Sustainable Business Training Research and determine if participation in business sustainability practices and certification criteria are viable Complete
Zero Waste Event Programs Develop sustainability standards for waste removal at special events Ongoing
Car-Free Travel Continue to implement recommendations from the Parking Matters Study Ongoing
Public Spaces/Safer Mobility Develop list of challenges and possible strategies to address existing challenges; create implementation schedule Ongoing

Tour Management

TOPIC STRATEGY STATUS
Tourism Advisory Committee Restructure TAC to reflect neighborhoods, preservation, and tourism industry Complete
Communications Strategy Develop website to communicate with stakeholders Ongoing
After-hours Management Develop approach to create entertainment/hospitality district for the commercial area of the Historic District Ongoing
  Proceed in limiting tour operations in residential areas before current standard of 12 midnight Ongoing
  Proceed in identifying future districts needing after-hours management Ongoing
  Create and implement comprehensive after-hours program by forming alliances, planning for people, assuring safety, and enhancing public space Ongoing
Safety and Security Identify infrastructure needed for a Video Integration System (VIS) to provide enhanced monitoring activities and develop implementation plan Ongoing
  Implement public safety and nightlife checklist and address deficiencies Ongoing
  Determine if community improvement districts [CIDs] could be established in newly branded districts Ongoing
  Incorporate identification and safety standards for walking tours Ongoing
Tour Guide Standards & Training Encourage tour companies to certify tour guides through the Tourism Leadership Council’s Certified Tour Guides of Savannah Program Ongoing
Transportation Hub & Parking Solutions Continue to implement recommendations from the Parking Matters Study Ongoing
Medallion & Franchise Systems Research use of medallion system and franchise system to reduce saturation of tours in specific areas, improve emission controls, hands-free microphones and cap the number of tours; determine approach for Savannah Complete
Motor Coaches Establish alternative holding location for motor coaches outside of the Historic District Ongoing
Bike Share/Car Share Explore using car share program in Savannah
Continue to support the expansion of the bike share program
Ongoing
Workforce Readiness Continue to support initiatives which develop life skills and career paths Ongoing
Workforce Housing Continue to support initiatives which create work force housing opportunities Ongoing

Balancing Visitation and Interconnecting Districts

TOPIC STRATEGY STATUS
Cultural/Hospitality Districts Identify and brand districts within the City [Canal District, MLK Corridor, Plant Riverside District, Savannah Riverfront District, Savannah River Landings, Midtown, Victorian, etc.] Ongoing
  Establish initiatives to provide stronger connectivity between districts Ongoing
Wayfinding/Signage Continue to support implementation of Pedestrian Wayfinding and Directional Signage Program Ongoing
  Update Pedestrian Wayfinding and Directional Signage Program as needed for new districts Ongoing
Walkability Develop walking trail themes to celebrate Savannah’s cultural districts
Develop implementation schedule to include funding
Ongoing
Free Transportation /Circulator Continue to support the DOT shuttle and encourage connection between newly established districts

Ongoing