St. Pat’s Economic Impact

We are less than ten days away from St. Patrick’s Day, where our city will play host to hundreds of thousands of revelers.
Whether you join in the celebration or not, you will benefit.
Let me explain.
For all of the people who will be staying overnight, they will be paying a total of 13% tax on their room rate. For instance, on a $250 room rate with a 3-night stay, that’s nearly $100 that goes to our community and state.
Multiply that by the thousands who stay overnight during St. Patrick’s weekend and that adds up to real income for our community. That money goes back into our coffers to pay for things like road improvements, park upkeep, and police and fire protection for all of us who call Savannah home 365 days a year.
Throughout the year, we also enjoy a plethora of places to eat. However, owning a restaurant is one of the riskiest businesses to undertake. For many, without this weekend’s guests, they would not be able to survive.
One downtown restaurant owner tells me he does 20% of his overall business for the year during this one weekend.
The positive influence can even be seen on Tybee as well; one restaurant owner tells me he certainly benefits from the busy weekend. He added that it’s not just the business itself but his employees as well. Servers make more money and kitchen staff gets more hours.
All of this makes owning a restaurant, and giving the rest of us a good place to eat year round, a little easier.
The number one thing guests say they do when they’re here is shop. Like restaurants, the shops that pepper our downtown round out the great balance we need to be a thriving, vibrant community.
Retail shops big and small tell me they extend their hours during St. Pat’s and it helps them bring in business that would not otherwise pour in.
Even The Barber Pole in downtown Savannah sees an increase in business. On the days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, owner Gary Foust sees an increase of 30% more walk-in business. This affords him the ability to close his business during the parade and enjoy the festivities from his shop.
One of the biggest ways, we all benefit is that St. Patrick’s Day weekend is a primer for visitors. They get a taste of all of the great things that make Savannah great, and they start to make plans to return.
For some, they’ll return so often that, like many of my friends, will eventually move here to call Savannah home. When we grow an affinity for our city, it seems to spread like wildfire.
So, as you celebrate St. Patrick’s, remember to stop and thank someone from out of town. After all we are the, “Hostess City of the South.” Our guests’ decisions to come here next weekend has managed to give us some really great things we get to enjoy the rest of the year.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014