COVID-19 impacting Fourth of July tourism in Savannah

ByZach LoganandWTOC Staff|July 2, 2020 at 7:31 AM EDT - Updated July 2 at 7:47 AM

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Normally, downtown Savannah would be preparing for thousands of people looking to celebrate the Fourth of July. But with the ongoing pandemic causing various travel restrictions, it looks like we won’t see the usual crowds this holiday.

According to the Tourism Leadership Council, normally we would see hotels selling out of rooms not only downtown but also across greater Savannah areas like Tybee Island and Pooler.

But TLC says that’s not looking like the case this year. The CEO says over the last few days, several hotels have reported cancellations. He says, although people are venturing out and visiting Savannah, the area is still not seeing the numbers that it would usually see around this time of year. He says businesses in the hospitality industry are taking it day by day, but many continue to see low sales numbers.

Usually, an event or festival would help attract people to the area, but not much is going on. The CEO says the new Plant Riverside District, which is set to open to the public later this month, could drive people to the area.

“This is a pretty substantial project. With around 14 food and beverage facilities, it is most definitely a district because of the entertainment going on there. A hotel room is not what people are after. They want everything else around the hotel room, so Plant Riverside is going to raise the bar with that,” said Michael Owens, Tourism Leadership Council CEO.

WTOC asked Owens if he thinks the tourism numbers will increase this fall. He says when it comes to the pandemic, you just don’t know what to expect. He says hotels, restaurants, and boutique owners are just concerned about what they can do today and this weekend.

Photo: Getty Images

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