(SAVANNAH) Green is the signature color of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, but business in downtown Savannah count on the greenbacks generated by the biggest festival in the hostess city. That’s the word from Karen Guinn, President of the Savannah Downtown Business Association. ” Especially those that are in the hospitality industry, food & beverage, um, their year really hinges on the success of St. Patrick’s Day .” Guinn said, adding, ” St. Patrick’s Day is a huge money-maker…um, a lot of our partners and members, we see make their entire year over this weekend.” said Guinn.
The president of Visit Savannah says tourist spending generates millions of dollars over the course of the festival and those expenditures basically fit into four categories. ” We break it down in terms of lodging, food & beverage, retail, um, entertainment, while they’re here, so I think it’s millions of dollars for sure. It’s a high impact weekend.” said Marinelli. He says each tourist spends on $340 dollars each per day, but some tourists say that’s more than they expect to shell out to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah. Caroline Hartl traveled from Germany. “I’m an intern, so that’s more than I have to spend each day.” said Hartl. But she does say the four area’s of expense are accurate, with lodging topping the list in terms of cost. Wendy O’Brien of Louisville, Kentucky agrees, but laughs as she says it’s part of the price of coming to one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parties on the planet. : “It’s shopping and food and obviously, um, liquid beverages and what-nots…so um, I say a lot of our money goes towards the partying and the festivities and good food.” O’Brien said.
Businesses want the good economic times of st. Patrick’s day to roll out beyond the obvious businesses. Guinn says there are 300 members in their association and they’d like to see some of the smallest businesses reap bigger economic benefits from St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah. “We would love to start a conversation or be part of a conversation on how we can stretch the economic impact to reach more of our members, especially our small businesses.” Guinn said. Marinelli did not have an exact figure, but estimates that St. Patrick’s Day generates millions of dollars for businesses in the Hostess City.