Consultants who studied Savannah’s best locations for a possible cruise ship terminal say the Savannah River Landing would be the best choice. Cruise ship supporters point to the potential for jobs. But opponents say more tourism could destroy the historic city's character. Consultant Bruno Ramos says the city has a choice to make.
An international conference in Charleston is tackling a topic that folks in Savannah are talking about more and more. Cruise ships and their impact on historic communities is the focus of a three-day meeting. Charleston is ahead of Savannah in developing a multi-million-dollar cruise ship industry.
Charleston's mayor says, he believes environmentalists when it comes to Savannah's harbor deepening. South Carolina officials recently have taken up an ecological argument against it. Georgians suspect the opposition really is about protecting of Charleston from competition. But, Mayor Joseph Riley says, the concerns are honest.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is placing Charleston on a first-of-its-kind "Watch List" because of cruise ship tourism. The Trust says, Charleston could harm its historic character if it doesn't consider how cruise tourism changes a city's society and culture. Savannah wants to follow Charleston in luring cruise lines.
Georgia's ports officials have serious concerns about the possibility of a cruise ship terminal at their Savannah dock. The city recently paid a consultant $50,000 to create a feasibility study on how Savannah could start welcoming cruise ships. The study's top recommendation was a temporary cruise ship terminal at the Georgia Ports Authority.
A new report says, building a cruise ship terminal in Savannah could bring Georgia $89 million a year in new spending and create 1,000 jobs. A Miami-based consulting firm prepared the study. It says, the city could build a terminal in four years at the Georgia Ports Authority. Five years later, it could build a terminal at the city's historic waterfront.
The first phase of a feasibility study on Savannah cruise ships shows, the initial estimates of number of potential passengers was too low. Officials had been saying, if they built a cruise ship terminal, it could bring the city 250,000 passengers a year. But a more detailed study puts the number at 350,000.
The city has been playing catch up to Charleston, since the South Carolina port started getting cruise ship tourism earlier this year. The city is splitting the cost of a cruise ship feasibility study with the state and the Savannah Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. The interim City Manager said the study should take 3-6 months to complete.