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Thursday, December 9, 2010 - 11:33am

Cruise Ships Could Draw 350,000

Cruise ships could bring Savannah more passengers than originally estimated.

That's the conclusion of the first phase of a cruise ship feasibility study.

If Savannah built a cruise ship terminal, officials originally estimated that it would bring 250,000 visitors to the coastal city.

But the results of a more detailed study puts the number at 350,000.

Savannah State Senator Lester Jackson says, cruise ships would expand the city's tourism economy.

"It would just open up a whole different revenue. And we're also talking about keeping Georgians paying money in Georgia," Jackson says. "We really believe that's going to bring in an additional $100 million revenue to this great state. And we're talking about tax revenue along with jobs."

Jackson says, reports show a half-million Metro Atlantans take cruises each year, sending money to Florida and South Carolina among other places.

He's pushing for more state funding for a terminal, which officials say could be built by 2014.

The feasibility study isn't complete, however.

An unfinished second phase will look at economic factors in the cruise ship industry to help lawmakers better understand the pros-and-cons of what could be a multi-million-dollar investment.

The terminal would require lots of new infrastructure to be located on Savannah's historic waterfront.