The head of Visit Savannah, Joe Marinelli, had worried that new or expanded convention facilities in Jekyll Island, Augusta and Athens would attract some business from Savannah. But he says Savannah is not losing market share even though the competition has changed.
Dozens of groups are already booking meetings at Jekyll Island's new convention center, though the doors won't open for another two months. The island's staff is working to win back groups that moved their annual gatherings from Jekyll to other resorts in places like Florida.
Chatham County taxpayers could be taking a big risk by publicly financing a new hotel at the Savannah Trade and Convention Center. That's the conclusion of a consultant hired by the trade center board to run the numbers. The consultant says, the hotel business is extremely volatile and the hotel's developer is being overly-optimistic about potential revenue.
A private company slated to open two new hotels on Jekyll Island next year can't find financing for the project. The hotels are supposed to open at the same time as a new state-financed convention center. Without the hotels, the state-run island could have trouble attracting convention business. Island officials have told developers, they want to see progress by June.